Self-determination theory maintains and has provided empirical support for the proposition that all human beings have fundamental psychological needs to be competent, autonomous, and related to others. Satisfaction of these basic needs facilitates people's autonomous motivation (i.e., acting with a sense of full endorsement and volition), whereas thwarting the needs promotes controlled motivation (i.e., feeling pressured to behave in particular ways) or being amotivated (i.e., lacking intentionality). Satisfying these basic needs and acting autonomously have been consistently shown to be associated with psychological health and effective performance. Social contexts within which people operate, however proximal (e.g., a family or workgroup) or distal (e.g., a cultural value or economic system), affect their need satisfaction and type of motivation, thus affecting their wellness and effectiveness. Social contexts also affect whether people's life goals or aspirations tend to be more intrinsic or more extrinsic, and that in turn affects important life outcomes.