Longitudinal Associations of Autonomy, Relatedness, and Competence with the Well-being of Nursing Home Residents

Noortje Kloos (Corresponding Author), H.R. Trompetter, Ernst Thomas Bohlmeijer, Gerben Johan Westerhof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
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Background and Objectives
As proposed by the self-determination theory, satisfying nursing home residents’ needs for autonomy, relatedness, and competence may improve their well-being. This is the first study to test the longitudinal relations of the satisfaction of these three basic psychological needs to the subjective well-being of nursing home residents and to determine whether a balance among the satisfaction of the three needs is important for well-being.

Research Design and Methods
Participants in this longitudinal survey study included 128 physically frail residents (mean age 85 years) at four Dutch nursing homes. Satisfaction of the three basic psychological needs was measured at baseline, and depressive feelings and life satisfaction 5–8 months later. Absolute differences between the three basic need satisfaction scores were summed to create a score of need satisfaction balance.

All three needs were related to both well-being measures over time, although autonomy had the strongest relationships. Only autonomy and competence were uniquely associated with depressive feelings, and only autonomy was uniquely associated with life satisfaction. The need satisfaction balance score was related to well-being independent of the autonomy and relatedness scores.

Discussion and Implications
These results confirm that all three basic psychological needs are important for nursing home residents’ well-being, with autonomy having the strongest and most consistent relationship to their well-being. Additionally, high satisfaction of one need does not compensate for low satisfaction of another. Supporting residents’ needs for autonomy, relatedness, and competence should, therefore, have a central role in nursing home culture-change interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2018


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