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Do Self-Determination Theory Premises Apply to the Disadvanatged?

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Self-Determination theory is arguably the most prominent within current perspectives on wellbeing and psychological needs. Data supporting the theory tend to negate the importance of needs tied to survival and reify Self-Determination Theory's needs of relatedness, autonomy and competence. However, most of the theory's experimental support comes from privileged (white, young and affluent) participants, which do not represent the disadvantaged communities wherein survival needs are more prevalent. The current study aimed at testing Self-Determination Theory against other needs (e.g., economic security) with an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse non-college sample by replicating a previous paradigm (Sheldon, Elliot, Kim, & Kasser, 2001). Seventy-three whites (31 women) and 55 blacks (34 women) constituted the final sample. Because economic security is linked with survival needs and tends to be more prevalent among the disadvantaged, participants with lower income levels were expected to perceive economic security as a salient aspect of life satisfaction more than affluent participants who would instead endorse self-determination theory needs more than disadvantaged people. The qualitative data show that whites alluded to relatedness and competence more than blacks did. There were no significant differences across racial and economic groups in participants' endorsement of self-determination theory needs within questionnaires. However, economic security was the most endorsed need overall and displayed a significant correlation with subjective wellbeing, independent of participants' racial and economic backgrounds.
basic needs
fundamental needs
self-determination theory
Beaulieu, Melissa (author)
Best, Deborah (committee chair)
Seta, Catherine (committee member)
Wood, Dustin (committee member)
Harnois, Catherine (committee member)
2013-06-06T21:19:40Z (accessioned)
2013-06-06T21:19:40Z (available)
2013 (issued)
Psychology (discipline)
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/38583 (uri)
en (iso)
Wake Forest University
Do Self-Determination Theory Premises Apply to the Disadvanatged?

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