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Basic psychological needs as a predictor of positive affects: a look at peace of mind and vitality in Chinese and American college students

  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong Shenzhen

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Research in the past decade has shown basic psychological needs (BPNs) as essential for human wellness, but little is known about their effects on positive affects that are more characteristic of East Asian cultures or whether their effects differ for different affective outcomes. We examined the role of BPNs in a recently conceptualized affect characteristic of East Asians, namely, peace of mind (PoM). We also investigated whether this effect differs from that on vitality, a high-arousal affect more characteristic of American culture. Furthermore, we examined whether these relationships are moderated by culture. Key findings include: (1) BPNs positively predict PoM; (2) PoM is positively correlated with vitality, while the effect of BPNs is stronger on PoM than on vitality; (3) PoM (relative to vitality) is more characteristic of Chinese than American college students; and (4) culture does not moderate the relative effect of BPNs on PoM vs. vitality.
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Basic psychological needs as a predictor of
positive affects: a look at peace of mind and
vitality in Chinese and American college students
Shi Yu, Fengjiao Zhang, Ludmila D. Nunes, Yanhe Deng & Chantal Levesque-
To cite this article: Shi Yu, Fengjiao Zhang, Ludmila D. Nunes, Yanhe Deng & Chantal Levesque-
Bristol (2019): Basic psychological needs as a predictor of positive affects: a look at peace of mind
and vitality in Chinese and American college students, The Journal of Positive Psychology, DOI:
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Published online: 04 Jun 2019.
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Basic psychological needs as a predictor of positive aects: a look at peace of
mind and vitality in Chinese and American college students
Shi Yu
, Fengjiao Zhang
, Ludmila D. Nunes
, Yanhe Deng
and Chantal Levesque-Bristol
Department of Applied Psychology, Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen), Shenzhen, China;
Department of Educational
Psychology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA;
Center for Student Psychological Development, Wenzhou University, Wenzhou,
Department of Psychology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA;
Faculty of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing,
Department of Educational Psychology and Center for Instructional Excellence, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
Research in the past decade has shown basic psychological needs (BPNs) as essential for human
wellness, but little is known about their eects on positive aects that are more characteristic of
East Asian cultures or whether their eects dier for dierent aective outcomes. We examined
the role of BPNs in a recently conceptualized aect characteristic of East Asians, namely, peace
of mind (PoM). We also investigated whether this eect diers from that on vitality, a high-
arousal aect more characteristic of American culture. Furthermore, we examined whether
these relationships are moderated by culture. Key ndings include: (1) BPNs positively predict
PoM; (2) PoM is positively correlated with vitality, while the eectofBPNsisstrongeronPoM
than on vitality; (3) PoM (relative to vitality) is more characteristic of Chinese than American
college students; and (4) culture does not moderate the relative eect of BPNs on PoM vs.
Received 22 December 2018
Accepted 23 May 2019
Self-determination theory;
basic psychological needs;
peace of mind; vitality;
culture; positive aect;
multilevel modeling;
circumplex model of aects;
The current study investigates the intriguing interre-
lations between a collection of variables: basic psy-
chological needs (BPNs), peace of mind (PoM), vitality,
and culture. Research in the last two decades has
identied BPNs as critical predictors of aective
well-being. However, most existing research has trea-
ted aective well-being as a monolithic construct
conceptualized by Western scholars. Little is known
about the role of BPNs in dierentiated aspects of
aective well-being, as well as the potential modera-
tion under dierent cultures. The current research
takes advantage of a recent advance in positive aect
(PA) research, namely, the conceptualization of PoM
(Lee, Lin, Huang, & Fredrickson, 2013), a PA that is
more characteristic of East Asian culture, and aims to
answer these questions.
Specically, we compare PoM with another type of
PA that is arguably highly distinct: vitality. We pro-
pose that (1) PoM should be positively predicted by
BPNs, (2) PoM should be positively correlated with
vitality, whereas the eect of BPNs on PoM vs. vitality
may be dierent, and (3) there may be some moder-
ating eects of culture on the interrelationships
between BPNs, PoM, and vitality. In the following,
we address these issues in order.
BPNs as a predictor of PoM and other positive
Self-determination theory (SDT; e.g. Deci & Ryan, 2000)
proposes that just as plants must have their physical
needs met to thrive, human beings must also have their
psychological needs met to function optimally. Three
such needs have been identied to date: autonomy,
relatedness, and competence. Autonomy is dened as
self-governance, or the need to organize ones experi-
ences in a self-congruent manner and to feel volitional
in regulating ones behavior; relatedness refers to the
need to establish meaningful relationships with others,
to care for others and be cared for; competence refers
to the need to feel eective in interacting with the
During the last two decades or so, research has consis-
tently shown BPNs to be critical predictors of aective well-
being. First, one of the most used and most representative
measurements for aective well-being is the Positive and
Negative Aect Schedule (PANAS; Watson, Clark, &
Tellegen, 1988). Various studies have shown that
© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
satisfaction of the three BPNs positively predicts PA and
negatively predicts negative aect (NA) using the PANAS.
that experiencing a past event as satisfying the needs for
autonomy, relatedness and competence is signicantly
related to experiencing higher PA and lower NA from that
event. Using cross-sectional surveys, other studies have
consolidated these associations across various cultures (e.
g. Church et al., 2013;Sheldonetal.,2004), including East
Asian cultures such as Chinese culture. These associations
have also been supported on a within-individual level, such
that on days that a specic person experiences BPN satis-
faction, they are also more likely to experience higher PA
(and lower NA) (e.g. Reis, Sheldon, Gable, Roscoe, & Ryan,
Apart from the omnibus PANAS, research has also some-
times focused on specic aspects of aective well-being.
According to our literature review, the most studied aspects
are anxiety, depression, and vitality. For example, various
studies have supported the negative relationship between
BPN satisfaction and depression using self-report methods
(e.g., Baard, Deci, & Ryan, 2004;Bartholomew,Ntoumanis,
Ryan, Bosch, & Thøgersen-Ntoumani, 2011;Chenetal.,
2015) and qualitative methods (Phillippe, Koestner,
Beaulieu-Pelletier, Lecours, & Lekes, 2012); the association
between anxiety and BPNs has also been supported by
various studies (e.g. Baard et al., 2004; Ilardi, Leone, Kasser,
&Ryan,1993; Phillipe et al., 2012). To our knowledge, the
only type of specic PA that has been shown to be pre-
dicted by BPNs is vitality. Vitality is dened as onescon-
scious experience of possessing energy and aliveness(Ryan
& Frederick, 1997). The positive contribution of the satisfac-
tion of BPNs to the feeling of subjective vitality has been
documented in both cross-sectional (e.g. Baard et al., 2004;
Bartholomew et al., 2011;Chenetal.,2015)andwithin-
Reis et al., 2000;Sheldonetal.,1996) research.
Recent large-scale studies have conrmed the general
importance of BPNs in aective well-being. For example, in
a comprehensive study that used Gallup data representing
66% of the worlds population, Tay and Diener (2011)
showed that experiencing satisfaction in autonomy, relat-
edness and competence positively predicted positive feel-
ings (e.g. enjoyment) and negatively predicted negative
feelings (e.g. sadness). Meta-analyses (e.g. Van den Broeck,
Ferris, Chang, & Rosen, 2016; Yu, Levesque-Bristol, & Maeda,
2018) have also supported the relationship between BPNs
and aective well-being in general.
However, beyond general PA and vitality, little is known
about other types of PA. We conducted a search of the
publications of Journal of Positive Psychology using positive
aectas a search term, but only three papers during
the Journals more than 10-year publication history are
concerned with the dierentiations among PA types. In
the same vein, a recent review (Pressman & Cross, 2018)
concluded that PA research has largely applied a one-size-
ts-all view, and the authors advocated a more rened
approach that takes into consideration the dierentiations
among types of PA. More specically, research has sug-
gested that PA measures such as PANAS and vitality all
focus on aects with moderate to high levels of arousal.
These aects are less characteristic of the aective
well-being of people in East Asian culture, however (e.g.
Lee et al., 2013;Lu&Gilmour,2004; Tsai, Knutson, & Fung,
2006). Thus, research has called for more attention to rela-
tively low arousal aects, such as calm (Pressman & Cross,
Therefore, it is of substantial theoretical interest to
question whether BPNs are also valid predictors of PAs
that are lower-arousal and more indigenous to East
Asian cultures. Such evidence will serve as a signicant
contribution to our understanding of the validity of the
eects of BPNs. Therefore, the rst aim of the current
investigation is to examine the eect of BPNs on a PA
that has recently been conceptualized as more charac-
teristic of the East Asian population, namely, PoM,
which is dened as an internal state of peacefulness
and harmony(Lee et al., 2013).
We propose that PoM should be predicted by BPNs
because the three BPNs of autonomy, competence, and
relatedness reect the well-functioning of one within one-
self, with the environment, and within the social realm,
respectively. When ones need for autonomy is met, ones
behaviors and experiences are regulated in a way that is
consistent with ones inner true self, and one is hence at
peace with oneself. When ones need for competence is
met, one feels ecacious interacting with the surrounding
environment, relatively free from uncertainty and frustra-
tion, experiencing a sense of harmony with the physical
world. When ones need for relatedness is met, one feels
being absorbed and accepted in the social matrix and
hence is in harmony with society. In short, experiences of
the three BPNs should contribute to a sense of peace and
harmony in various aspects of oneslife.
Therefore, our rst research question is to ask the
RQ1: Do BPNs positively predict PoM?
We hypothesize that the three BPNs positively predict
Relationship between PoM and vitality
To understand the potentially dierential eects of
BPNs on dierent types of PAs, it may not be sucient
to examine the eect of BPNs on only one PA (PoM).
Rather, it is more informative to compare the eect of
BPNs on PoM with their eect on another PA that is
distinct from PoM. We chose vitality as such a variable
to contrast PoM.
Correlation relationship
Before comparing the eects of BPNs on PoM and
vitality, as a rst step, it is an intriguing question to
ask how PoM and vitality are related. This question is
intriguing because dierent theories lead to dierent
First, according to the inuential circumplex model
of aect (e.g. Barrett & Russell, 1998; Posner, Russell, &
Peterson, 2005), aective experiences can be organized
around a circumplex (a circle) that is underlain by two
dimensions: valence and activation. The dependence of
any two aects is determined by their relative anity
on the circumplex. According to this theory, PoM
(which is very similar to calmin the authorsstudy)
should be placed close to the deactivation pole,
whereas vitality (which is very similar to alertin their
study; in fact, the term alertappears in the measure-
ment for vitality by Ryan & Frederick, 1997) should be
placed close to the activation pole. Therefore, there
should be a negative correlation between PoM and
However, another theory challenges this position by
proposing a dierentiation between energetic arousal
and tense arousal (Schimmack & Reisenzein, 2002;
Thayer, 1989). According to this theory, energetic arousal
is recognizable by subjective sensations of energy, vigor,
or peppiness, whereas the opposite is tired; tense arousal
is associated with feelings of tension, anxiety, or fearful-
ness, whereas the opposite is calm. Energetic and tense
arousal are two independent systems. According to this
view, high energetic arousal does not necessitate high
tense arousal, and vice versa. Thayers(1989) conception
of energetic arousal is very close to the construct of
vitality. To illustrate, both Thayers measurement of ener-
getic arousal and the vitality scale include similar word-
ings such as energetic; some research, such as Reiger,
Reinecke, Frischlich, and Bente (2014), has used Thayers
measurement of energetic arousal interchangeably to
measure vitality. Thayers conception of tense arousal is
also very close to the opposite of PoM. Therefore, from
Thayers theory, we expect that high vitality does not
necessitate low PoM. Rather, the shared positive valence
between vitality and PoM renders their correlation
From the perspective of SDT, vitality should be posi-
tively correlated with PoM because vitality is also an
indicator of inner harmony. According to Ryan and
Frederick (1997), vitality is the psychological experience
of aliveness or the phenomenological manifestation of
life force, the very essence of life. According to Ryan
and colleagues (e.g. Ryan & Deci, 2017), the very nature
of life is organization. In inanimate matters, there is a
general tendency to deteriorate and decompose; by
contrast, animate beings, insofar as they are alive and
vital, appear to be negentropic. Living things actively
maintain and elaborate themselves. That is, it seems to
be the very essence of organisms, while alive, to work
to preserve and extend their structure and complexity
rather than to move toward entropy (chaos, disorderli-
ness). For humans, this organization is manifest not
only in a physical sense but also in a psychological
sense, such that elements of their psychological experi-
ences are well integrated and at harmony with each
other. Hence, both vitality and PoM reect a state in
which an organism is well integrated and has energy
that is at the disposal of the self although they seem
disparate because of the explicit manifestation of
whether that energy is used. Therefore, vitality should
be positively related to PoM. Due to this shared under-
lying psychological status, SDT would predict that vital-
ity is positively correlated with PoM.
Thus, our analysis pits the circumplex model against
the perspectives of energetic vs. tense arousal and of
SDT. Thus, our second research question is as follows:
RQ2: How is PoM correlated with vitality?
From an SDT perspective, we hypothesize that the
correlation is positive.
Dierential prediction by BPNs
As stated at the very beginning, one purpose of the current
study is to take a dierentiated perspective of PA and
examine whether there are dierent predictive relation-
ships between BPNs and PA based on the type of PA. As
previously mentioned, the only specictypeofPAthathas
been examined together with BPNs is vitality, so no existing
literature provides a reference for how the eects of BPNs
on various PAs may dier. We take an exploratory stance
on this issue and simply ask the following:
RQ3: Are the eects of BPNs the same for PoM and for
The moderation of culture
In addition to the eect of BPNs on PoM and vitality, we
also aim to examine the potentially moderating eect of
culture. To be sure, our RQ3, which examines the relative
eect of BPNs on PoM vs. vitality, is a form of testing
cultural moderation because PoM (relative to vitality) is
considered more representative of East Asian culture than
American culture (Lee et al., 2013). However, a more estab-
lished approach that has been applied by SDT researchers
to examine cultural moderation is to test the eects of
BPNs in dierent populations. Therefore, this part of our
research concerns using both Chinese and American sam-
ples to detect dierences in the interrelationships between
BPNs, PoM and vitality.
Cultural representativeness of PoM vs. vitality
First, we aim to test whether in a Chinese sample, PoM
is more characteristic than vitality compared to an
American sample.
Psychologists have theorized that high-arousal (relative
to low-arousal) positive aects are favored less in East Asian
cultures than in American culture. For example, Tsai et al.
(2006)drewontheclassicdierence in independence and
interdependence between American and East Asian cul-
tures (e.g. Markus & Kitayama, 1991). They argued that
because East Asians have a higher interdependent self,
they tend to adjust to their surrounding environment; in
contrast, because Americans have a higher independent
self, they tend to take actions to inuence their environ-
Schimmack, Diener, & Suh, 1998;Schwartz,1992).
Furthermore, they reasoned that because inuencing the
environment is related to high-arousal aective states
whereas adjusting to the environment is related to low-
arousal states (e.g. Mehrabian & Russell, 1974; Schupp,
Cuthbert, Bradley, Birbaumer, & Lang, 1997), East Asians
should be characterized more by low-arousal aects,
whereas Americans should be characterized more by
high-arousal states. In our study, because PoM is a low-
arousal positive aect and vitality is a high-arousal positive
aect, we extend the previous theorizing to hypothesize
that PoM, relative to vitality, is more characteristic of
Chinese than Americans.
To date, there is some empirical support for this
theorizing. For example, Tsai, Louie, Chen, and Uchida
(2007) showed that bestselling English childrens story-
books in the US contain more excited expressions than
calm expressions, whereas the opposite is true for best-
selling Chinese childrens storybooks in Taiwan. Tsai
et al. (2006) also showed some support for the higher
level of excited feeling than calm feeling in European
Americans compared to Asian Americans, explained by
the higher level of valuation of excited vs. calm feelings
among European Americans than among Asian
Americans. Using their newly developed PoM scale,
Lee et al. (2013) showed that Chinese participants
scored higher on PoM than American participants. On
the other hand, research has also shown that Americans
score higher on vitality than Chinese (Chen et al., 2015)
and Japanese (Elliot et al., 2012) samples.
Overall, although previous studies have variously
supported the idea that Chinese score higher on PoM
than on vitality compared to Americans, no study has
directly addressed this issue. In the current study, we
aim to systematically test this hypothesis.
RQ4: Compared to vitality, is PoM more characteristic of
Chinese than Americans?
We hypothesize that PoM is higher in Chinese than in
Americans, relative to vitality.
Culture as a moderator of the relative eect of BPNs
on PoM and vitality
Third, we aim to examine whether culture also moderates
the eect of BPNs on PoM vs. vitality. This is a three-way
interaction eect: While for RQ3, we examine the two-way
interaction of whether type of PA moderates the eect of
BPNs on the level of PA experienced, here, we further ask
whether the two-way interaction depends on which cul-
ture the participant belongs to. In other words: Is it possible
that Chinese people, when their BPNs are satised, are
more likely to experience PoM than vitality, and vice versa
for Americans? Although the eects of BPNs on aective
well-being and the cultural specicity of aects have both
been discussed for more than two decades, to our knowl-
edge,thisistherst time these two issues have been
combined. In other words, it is asked whether culture
moderates the specic form of PA that BPN satisfaction is
translated into. Hence, our last research question is as
RQ5: Are BPNs more characteristically translated into PoM
as opposed to vitality for Chinese compared to Americans?
We hypothesize that BPNs are more characteristically
translated into PoM as opposed to vitality in Chinese
compared to Americans.
Participants and procedure
TheAmericansampleconsisted of 146 undergraduate stu-
dents enrolled in an introductory psychology class in a
midwestern US university. After removing irresponsible
responses and respondents whose names were clearly
Asian (to maximize the dierentiation of our American
sample from the Chinese sample), the nal sample size
was 127 (age M= 21.02 years, SD = 1.34, 89 female,
70.1%). The Chinese sample consisted of 293 students
(age M= 18.60 years, SD = 0.81, 255 female, 87%) enrolled in
a southern China regional university. Bonus course credits
were awarded to both samples for participation.
The participants responded to the following scales on a
scale of 1 (not true at all)to7(completely true). Reliabilities
are presented in Table 1.
Basic Psychological Needs Satisfaction and
Frustration (BPNSF; Chen et al., 2015)
The BPNSF scale consists of 24 items, eight for each of
the three needs for autonomy, relatedness, and compe-
tence. Within each need, four items are satisfaction
items, and four are frustration items. An example item
for autonomy satisfaction is I feel my choices express
who I really am, and an example for autonomy frustra-
tion is I feel pressured to do too many things.An
example item for relatedness satisfaction is I feel that
the people I care about also care about me, and an
example for relatedness frustration is I feel excluded
from the group I want to belong to. An example item
for competence satisfaction is I feel capable at what I
do, and an example for competence frustration is I feel
insecure about my abilities. In accordance with prior
studies (e.g. Campbell et al., 2015), average scores for
satisfaction and reverse-coded frustration are also used
for each need.
The PoM scale is a single-factor scale that consists of 7
items. An example item is My mind is free and at ease.
We obtained both Chinese and English versions of PoM
from the original developers of this scale: Lee et al.
(2013). Lee et al. (2013)rst developed this scale, refer-
encing aective words drawn from the low-arousal
positive feelings in the circumplex model (e.g., content,
comfortable; Barrett & Russell, 1998) and aiming to
cover feelings of both internal peace and internal har-
mony. The internal consistency was high (approxi-
mately .90) in both Lee et al.s original development
and the current study (Table 1).
Notably, in the cross-cultural validation rst con-
ducted by Lee et al. (2013), they found that the PoM
scale supported a hypothesized unidimensional factor
structure in their Chinese sample but not in their
American sample. However, in our study, exploratory
factor analyses supported the unidimensional structure
of the PoM in both Chinese and American samples.
Therefore, we decided that in the current study, it is
best to use the 7-item full version for both our Chinese
and American samples. Additionally, considering that
we have a larger American sample than did Lee et al.
(2013), we suggest that the evidence now leans toward
the good structural validity of the 7-item PoM scale in
American students and that the result of Lee et al. may
be due to limitations in their sample characteristics.
The vitality scale was rst developed and validated using
American samples by Ryan and Frederick (1997). An exam-
ple item is I feel alive and vital.Therst author also
translated the scale into Chinese and sent the back-transla-
tion to Richard Ryan (the rst author of the original paper)
to ensure that the back-translation was satisfactory (perso-
nal communication, October 2012). The original scale has
seven items. In the current study, we used the 5-item short
version for both the English and Chinese scales. The 5-item
version was rst validated by Kawabata, Yamazaki, Guo,
and Chatzisarantis (2017) in Japanese and Singaporean
samples. In a recent validation study, this 5-item version
also showed superior psychometric qualities compared to
the original 7-item version among Chinese adolescents
(Liu & Chung, 2019). Although no formal validation of the
5-item version is currently available using American
Table 1. Descriptive statistics, alphas, and correlations of the variables.
Com_S Com_F Aut_S Aut_F Rel_S Rel_F BPN_SF PoM Vitality MSD
1 .84 .58*** .63*** .35*** .54*** .29*** .75*** .53*** .56*** 5.05 1.12
2.47*** .81 .31*** .60*** .34*** .59*** .79*** .52*** .33*** 3.54 1.46
3 .67*** .38*** .78 .43*** .63*** .23** .70*** .52*** .54*** 5.00 1.10
4.32*** .60*** .36*** .73 .34*** .57*** .74*** .42*** .30*** 3.69 1.19
5 .61*** .29*** .59*** .28*** .84 .56*** .75*** .44*** .45*** 5.50 1.24
6.35*** .57*** .35*** .54*** .50*** .78 .74*** .31*** .20* 2.77 1.33
7 .77*** .75*** .75*** .69*** .74*** .75*** .91 .61*** .52*** 1.85 1.85
8 .43*** .50*** .46*** .38*** .41*** .44*** .59*** .88 .78*** 4.16 1.26
9 .58*** .38*** .51*** .20*** .40*** .27*** .53*** .59*** .78 4.16 1.21
M4.62 3.56 4.60 3.38 4.97 2.64 1.54 4.82 4.60
SD 0.99 1.07 0.98 1.00 1.11 1.05 1.53 0.99 0.96
***p< .001. Com_S: competence satisfaction; Com_F: competence frustration. Aut_S: autonomy satisfaction; Aut_F: autonomy frustration. Rel_S: relatedness
satisfaction; Rel_F: relatedness frustration. BPN_SF: basic psychological needs satisfaction vs. frustration. The alpha coecients are on the diagonal.
Statistics above the diagonal are from the American sample; those below the diagonal are from the Chinese sample.
samples, previous studies that applied this 5-item version
in American samples showed satisfactory performance
(Yu, Zhang, Nunes, & Levesque-Bristol, 2018). In the current
study, the reliability and concurrent validity of this 5-item
version are also satisfactory (Table 1).
Analytic strategy
To answer RQ1, we ran a multiple regression on the
total sample that combines Chinese and American stu-
dents. Satisfaction (relative to frustration) of the three
needs was entered as three predictors to predict PoM.
To answer RQ2, we computed the Pearson correlation
coecient between PoM and vitality.
To answer RQs 3, 4, and 5, we used multilevel mod-
eling. The data had a nested structure because the PoM
and vitality responses were nested within individuals
(the same participant responded to both the PoM and
vitality scales). By adopting a multilevel framework, we
could examine how the type of aect (i.e., PoM vs.
vitality) as a within-individual variable impacts the PA
experienced. Then, between-individual (i.e., level-2)
variables, including BPN satisfaction and culture, could
be added to examine the interaction eects between
BPNs, culture, and type of PA. Hence, the multilevel
model was as follows:
Level-1 Model
PAti ¼π0iþπ1iðPA TYPEtiÞþeti
Level-2 Model
π0i¼β00 þβ01 ðCULTUREiÞþβ02 ðBPN SFiÞ
þβ03 ðINTERACTIONiÞþr0i
π1i¼β10 þβ11 ðCULTUREiÞþβ12 ðBPN SFiÞ
þβ13 ðINTERACTIONiÞþr1i
Mixed Model
PAti ¼β00 þβ01 CULTUREiþβ02 BPN SFiþβ03
þr0iþr1iPA TYPEti þeti
In the level-1 model, PA
is the PA that person iexperi-
ences for type of PA t. π
is the average level of PA for
person iacross both types of PA (PoM and vitality);
is the code for the type of PA (vitality is coded
as 0, and PoM is coded as 1), and π
is the coecient for the
eect of type of PA within person i, essentially an indicator
of the dierence between the PoM and vitality experienced
by person i; e
is the within-individual residual of PA con-
ditional upon the eect of type of PA for person i.
In the level-2 models, β
is the overall mean of PA
across both types of PA and across all individuals;
is a code for participant is cultural aliation
(American is coded as 0, and Chinese is coded as 1), and
is the eect of culture on within-individual mean-
level PA; BPN_SF
is the BPN satisfaction (relative to
frustration) of person i, while β
is the eect of BPNs
on the within-individual mean-level PA; INTERACTION
the interaction between CULTURE
and BPNs, while β
is the eect of this interaction on the individual mean
of PA; r
is the level-2 residual of individual mean-level
PA conditional upon culture, BPNs, and their interac-
tion. β
is the overall dierence slope of PoM vs. vitality
across all individuals; β
and β
are the interaction
eects between culture and BPNs with the type of PA,
respectively; β
is the eect of the 3-way interaction
between culture, BPNs, and the type of PA; r
is the
random eect term of π
It is worth noting that in the current multilevel
analysis, BPN satisfaction vs. frustration was treated as
one whole variable. This decision was made because
when separate variables were used, the number of
variables in the mixed model became relatively large,
and the results showed multiple unexpected coe-
cients that are hard to explain but apparently due to
Multiple regression (RQ1)
The omnibus F test is signicant: F(6, 413) = 32.25,
p< .001, which supports the predictive eects of BPN
overall on PoM. The coecients for each of the need
variables are shown in Table 2. As seen, the satisfaction
of the need for autonomy has a signicant eect on
PoM, whereas the frustration of the need for autonomy
has a signicantly negative eect on PoM. The frustra-
tion of the need for competence also has a signicantly
negative eect on PoM. Interestingly, the eect of relat-
edness on PoM is nonsignicant.
Table 2 also shows that these patterns of eects are
highly consistent across both cultural samples: In both
the US and China, competence frustration and auton-
omy satisfaction are the two most signicant predictors
of PoM; the frustration of autonomy has a weak and
marginally signicant eect on PoM.
We also tested whether demographic variables such
as age and gender aect these predictive relationships.
After age and gender are added to the regression
model, the results remain mostly the same. In the com-
bined sample, age signicantly negatively predicts PoM
(standardized β=0.20, p< .001), and being female
(compared to male) signicantly positively predicts PoM
(standardized β= 0.09, p= .026). Competence
frustration and autonomy satisfaction remain strong
predictors for PoM, while autonomy frustration
becomes nonsignicant. The other predictors remain
nonsignicant. In separate cultural samples, age and
gender are nonsignicant, competence frustration and
autonomy satisfaction remain strong predictors of PoM,
and the other variables remain nonsignicant. Overall,
age and gender do not have a substantial inuence on
the predictive eects of BPNs.
Pearson correlations (RQ2)
As shown in Table 1, the correlation between PoM and
vitality is positive and very strong (r= .68, p< .001). We
further calculated the correlations in the subsamples
and found that the correlation is r= .78 (p< .001) in
the US and r= .59 (p< .001) in China. Overall, these
results are consistent with Thayers view and with SDT,
and they contradict circumplex theory.
Multilevel modeling (RQ3, RQ4, and RQ5)
First, in accordance with multilevel modeling proce-
dures (Raudenbush & Bryk, 2002), we ran an uncondi-
tional model to determine the degree of nesting of the
data. The intraclass correlation coecient (ICC) shows
that there is a substantial amount of variance nesting
within individuals (ICC = .68, meaning that 68% of
variance is accounted for by the individual-nesting mul-
tilevel structure of the data), thus supporting the use of
multilevel modeling.
Then, we ran the model as specied in the Analytic
Strategy section. The multilevel modeling results
showed that the 3-way interaction term is nonsigni-
cant (β
=0.02, SE = .05, p= .736). This result means
that the moderation eect of culture on the interaction
between BPNs and type of PA hypothesized in RQ5 is
nonsignicant. The interaction between culture and
BPNs on the general level of PA (regardless of whether
it is PoM or vitality) is also nonsignicant (β
SE = .05, p= .660). This means that culture does not
moderate the eect of BPNs on PA generally.
Hence, the level-2 interaction between culture and
BPN satisfaction was dropped from subsequent analyses.
The results without this interaction term are displayed in
Table 3 and 4. The moderation eect of culture on type of
PA (β
)issignicant, which indicates that in addition to
the fact that PoM is experienced on a generally higher
level than vitality (see β
; see also Table 1), the Chinese
college students in our sample experience PoM (relative
to vitality) at an especially higher level than do the
American college students in our sample. Thus, this result
supports our prediction for RQ4. Additionally, the interac-
tion between BPNs and type of PA (β
Because the coecient is positive, this suggests that the
eect of BPNs on PA is stronger for PoM than for vitality.
The interactions found for RQ3 and RQ4 are plotted
in Figures 1 and 2.
The current study takes a dierential view of the eects
of BPNs on PA. First, we aimed to validate the eect of
BPNs on a type of PA that has recently been concep-
tualized as characteristic of East Asian culture, namely,
PoM. The results support our prediction that BPN satis-
faction (vs. frustration) is positively associated with
experiences of peace and harmony. Second, we aimed
Table 2. Results of the regression analyses using BPNs to predict PoM (RQ1).
Combined Sample China US
Standardized bpStandardized bpStandardized bp
Com_S 0.06 .582ns 0.03 .643ns 0.09 .419ns
Com_F 0.27 < .001*** 0.29 < .001*** 0.35 .002**
Aut_S 0.19
< .001*** 0.20 .003** 0.25 .025*
Aut_F 0.13 .021* 0.04 .525ns 0.08 .452ns
Rel_S 0.05 .410ns 0.13 .072ns 0.14 .222ns
Rel_F 0.06 .282ns 0.10 .123ns 0.10 .373ns
***p< .001, *p< .05. Com_S: competence satisfaction; Com_F: competence frustration. Aut_S: autonomy satisfaction; Aut_F: autonomy frustration.
Rel_S: relatedness satisfaction; Rel_F: relatedness frustration.
Table 3. Fixed eects in multilevel modeling (RQs 3, 4, and 5).
Fixed Eect Coecient SE t-ratio d.f. p-value
4.55 0.04 121.80 416 < .001***
0.67 0.09 7.23 416 < .001***
0.36 0.02 15.77 416 < .001***
For PA_TYPE slope, π
0.16 0.04 3.70 416 < .001***
0.24 0.09 2.63 416 .009**
0.06 0.02 2.44 416 .015*
Table 4. Random Eects in Multilevel Modeling.
Random Eect
Component d.f. χ
0.66 0.43 416 1545.88 < .001***
PA_TYPE slope, r
0.33 0.11 416 487.17 .009**
level-1, e 0.56 0.32
to compare the eect of BPNs on PoM and vitality. As a
preliminary step, we also examined the correlation
between PoM and vitality. The results showed that
PoM and vitality are positively associated with each
other, presumably because they are both correlates of
autonomously regulated energy within an integrated
self. We also found that the eect of BPNs on PoM
was stronger than that on vitality. Next, we further
investigated whether culture plays a role in the inter-
relationships between BPNs, PoM, and vitality. First, we
extended previous ndings on the cultural representa-
tiveness of PoM and vitality, nding that Chinese parti-
cipants are indeed more likely to experience PoM
relative to vitality, compared to American participants.
Second, we did not nd support for our prediction that
BPN satisfaction tends to translate into dierent types
of PA for people in dierent cultures.
Although the positive association between BPNs and
PoM is generally supported, the specic pattern of eects
discovered in the current study is quite unexpected and,
to some extent, perplexing. We found that competence
frustration and autonomy satisfaction have strong eects
on PoM and that autonomy frustration has a weak eect
on PoM. Competence satisfaction and either satisfaction
or frustration of relatedness did not show any eect on
PoM. This pattern is highly consistent across both sub-
samples, which indicates that the ndings are not merely
an artifact. It puzzles us to see nonsignicant eects of
relatedness on PoM. Conceptually, one would certainly
expect miserable social relationships to disturb PoM and
harmonious social relationships to contribute to PoM.
From a statistical perspective, the nonsignicant eect
may be understood in terms of the eect of relatedness
being suppressedby other predictors. That is, when
there is relatively high correlation among the indepen-
dent variables, the eects of the weaker independent
variable may be eclipsed by the stronger independent
variable, resulting in eects that are nonsignicant or
even bear a contrary sign (Deegan, 1978). In this case, if
we drop competence frustration from the regression,
relatedness frustration becomes a signicant predictor;
similarly, if we drop autonomy satisfaction from the
regression, relatedness satisfaction becomes a signicant
predictor. Therefore, at the very least, the current ndings
showed that relatedness is not as important for PoM as
the other two needs (especially competence frustration
and autonomy satisfaction). With regard to whether relat-
edness does indeed play a role in addition to the other
two needs or whether it is signicant if one actually con-
trols the other two needs, we encourage future studies to
investigate this issue using experimental methods.
In the current study, we found that PoM is strongly
predicted by BPNs, and this relationship is even stronger
than that between BPNs and vitality. These results have
implications for the conceptualization of PoM. The satis-
faction of BPNs has been conceptualized as essential to
ra way of living that is focused on what is
intrinsically worthwhile to human beings(Ryan, Huta, &
Deci, 2008). Hence, we propose that PoM may be con-
ceptualized as one of the eudaimonic feelings (Vittersø,
2013). According to Vittersø (2013), not all positive feel-
ings are equally indicative of eudaimonia. For example,
sometimes pleasure (which is a type of positive feeling)
can be derived from behaviors that do not pertain to
optimal human functioning, such as drug abuse.
However, because of the strong relationship of PoM
with BPNs, it may be a feeling that is most likely associated
with one living a life that is inherently worth living. In
Figure 1. PoM vs. vitality in Chinese and Americans.
Figure 2. The dierential predictive eects of BPNs on PoM vs.
other words, although PoM was originally conceptualized
as just a PA that characterizes low arousal in Chinese
populations, it may be more than that; it may be seen as
a positive feeling that is particularly reective of an inher-
ently healthy or virtuous way of living.
This conceptualization is consistent with Eastern and
Western philosophies. For example, in Buddhism, equa-
nimity or PoM is seen as an ideal state of mind achieved
by those who reach nirvana or a state of freedom from
troubles in daily life; to achieve this ideal, one has to
practice the Noble Eightfold Path, which species the
right ways to live ones life, including being mindful,
concentrated, right-intended, and so forth (Bohdi,
2010). In Confucianism, PoM is seen as one of the
many reections of moderation(zhongyong), which is
considered a virtuous way to live. In Daoism, PoM or the
harmonious state is seen as a result of acquiring and
practicing dao, the truth of life and the vital principles
of the world. These cultural beliefs regarding PoM as a
eudaimonic aect are also mirrored in contemporary
Western psychology. Although PoM has not received
attention as a positive state until recently, Western
academia has a long history of documenting the oppo-
site state inner conict or unsettlement as a conse-
quence of unhealthy functioning (e.g. Horney, 2013).
The positive correlation between PoM and vitality in the
current study rejects the circumplex model of aect and
supports the two-system view of energy. This nding also
supports the interesting perspective that PoM and vitality
may both be manifestations of an integrated self. In SDT,
vitality has been conceptualized as the phenomenological
indicator for the life energyper se, but the current study
suggests that an integrated self that autonomously regu-
lates its energy may not necessarily experience that energy
as activated or aroused. Instead, the energy may take a
latentor dormantmode, in which case one experiences
peacefulness and harmony. In other words, vitality may not
be the exclusive state of mind for someone who possesses
healthy energy. Additionally, considering the positive cor-
relation between vitality and PoM, one could even say that
someone who possesses healthy energy is actually likely to
experience both vitality and other more peaceful states of
operationalize life energy. If we accept that the life energy
one possesses may not exclusively or always be active, then
some items in the vitality scale, such as I nearly always feel
alert and awake, may not be the most accurate reections
of the optimal vital state that an individual is in.
Furthermore, considering culture, it has been shown that
life energy is more likely to assume a latentform in East
Asian cultures. Future studies should address these intri-
guing questions regarding how to conceptualize energy
and the role of culture.
The current ndings on culture also have implica-
tions for the universality claim of SDT. Proponents of
SDT have long argued that because BPNs reect the
fundamental processes in all human functioning, their
importance is cross-culturally valid (for a comprehen-
sive review, see Ryan & Deci, 2017,Chapter 22). For
example, Chen et al. (2015) showed that the eects of
needs satisfaction and frustration on vitality are
equivalent across four cultures. The current ndings
extended the null eect of culture by showing that
culture does not moderate the eects of BPNs on PA in
general (the null eect of β
and β
). However, it was
shown that the eects of BPNs are dierent for dier-
ent types of PA that are characteristic of dierent
cultures (the signicant eect of β
). In a sense, this
result provides a new angle for examining the role of
culture in the purportedly universal eect of BPNs.
Future studies could extend this line of thought and
examine the potentially dierential eects of BPNs on
dierent behaviors and experiences that characterize
diverse cultures.
The greatest limitation of the current study is that the
PAs were measured on the individual level. Past research
has shown that overall aective self-report is more a
reection of beliefs than an authentic indicator of
moment-to-moment experiences (e.g. Robinson & Clore,
2002). Therefore, we are not condent of the extent to
which our ndings can be generalized to real-life,
moment-to-moment experiences of vitality and PoM.
Future studies should replicate our ndings using within-
individual designs.
Another limitation is that although our samples are
cross-cultural, they are far from perfectly representative
samples of the Chinese and American populations.
Specically, both our samples consisted of college students,
which limits the validity of our conclusions in various ways.
First, although we are not aware of existing research evi-
dence, it is reasonable to speculate that the levels of vitality
and PoM people report may systematically dier among
people of various ages. For example, older people may be
more likely to experience PoM compared to vitality. Hence,
by exclusively using college students, the relationship
between variables is subject to range restrictions, and our
ndings may not accurately depict the full picture. It is
therefore possible that one could nd the three-way inter-
action (RQ5) to be signicant if one were to use a more
representative sample. A second aspect of how our college
student samples may aect the validity is that the young
generation of Chinese may be more inuenced by
American culture than their predecessors; thus, the contrast
between traditional Chinese culture and Western culture
may not be pronounced. Third, it is possible that the college
lifestyle contributes to certain eects in our ndings. For
example, in both our samples, competence frustration has
the strongest eect on PoM. This result may be explained
by the strong intellectual challenges faced by college stu-
dents, making competence a dominant need for college
studentsaective well-being (also see Jang, Reeve, Ryan, &
Kim, 2009). Furthermore, to improve the cultural represen-
tativeness of samples, future studies could take an alterna-
tive approach by measuring the subjective cultural
identication of participants and use that as the cultural
independent variable. This alternative approach may pro-
vide higher cultural sensitivity and better representation of
the culture variable than using country membership.
Looking into the future, researchers could examine
these relationships in other Asian and Western coun-
tries beyond China and the US to obtain a more well-
rounded understanding of cultural dierences (Berger,
1997). Future researchers could also further explicate
the association between needs satisfaction and self-
determination processes and PoM. For example,
research in self-determination theory has shown that
basic needs satisfaction contributes to personality
integration and lower conict between parts of the
self (e.g., Weinstein, Deci, & Ryan, 2011;Weinstein,
Przybylski, & Ryan, 2013). Future studies could study
whether personality integration processes mediate the
relationships between BPN and PoM. Additionally, it
has been proposed that mindfulness contributes to
integration and vitality (e.g. Brown & Ryan, 2003). It
similar benets for PoM.
The current study supports the importance of the needs for
competence and autonomy in experiencing PoM. The
study also supports the prediction derived from SDT and
the two-system view that PoM is positively correlated with
vitality. Culture did not moderate the eects of BPNs in the
sense that college students in China and the US derive
dierential aective outcomes from BPN satisfaction; how-
ever, we found that the eects of BPNs are dierent for
aects that are characteristic of dierent cultures. We also
found that PoM (relative to vitality) was more characteristic
of Chinese college students than American college stu-
dents. Overall, this research contributes to our understand-
ing of basic needs, PA, culture, and their interrelationships.
1. Theestimatesfromthecombinedsamplemaybestronger
or weaker than the estimates derived from all subsamples
(i.e. not falling in between). This is normal and common,
and it is caused by the between-subsample relationships.
Readers who want a more in-depth understanding of this
phenomenon could refer to writings on Simpsons paradox
(e.g. Kievit, Frankenhuis, Waldorp, & Borsboom, 2013).
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the authors.
Chantal Levesque-Bristol
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Journal of Vocational Behavior,108, 132150.
12 S. YU ET AL.
... As a positive emotion, PoM broadens individuals' momentary thoughtaction repertoires (Fredrickson and Branigan, 2005). Specifically, PoM broadens individuals' scopes of attention and cognition and makes more information available for cognitive processing, so that more intrapersonal resources can be put into work (Anjum et al., 2014;Yu et al., 2019). Besides, PoM builds interpersonal resources. ...
... In Chinese culture, intense emotional release is normally interpreted as a threat (Friedman et al., 2006). By contrast, individuals governed by PoM may find themselves in a more stable and well-regulated emotional state through self-control and thus feel neither overly excited nor upset (Yu et al., 2019). Besides, they have access to resources just as much as they need or expect, instead of seizing too many resources, so that they are likely to be treated more favorably by others (Yu et al., 2019). ...
... By contrast, individuals governed by PoM may find themselves in a more stable and well-regulated emotional state through self-control and thus feel neither overly excited nor upset (Yu et al., 2019). Besides, they have access to resources just as much as they need or expect, instead of seizing too many resources, so that they are likely to be treated more favorably by others (Yu et al., 2019). Therefore, individuals with PoM have better access to emotional and instrumental assistance from others, such as counseling, care, and opportunity, which are collectively referred to as social support (Hobfoll, 2009). ...
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Introduction: The prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on a "New Normal" form, which necessitates a calm and peaceful social mentality. This study delves into the Chinese socioculturally oriented emotion construct of peace of mind (PoM) with regard to how it may affect employees' work engagement in times of the pandemic. Based on the conversation of resource (COR) theory, we develop a model in which the relationship between PoM (i.e., a low-arousal positive affective state) and work engagement and the relationship between career calling (i.e., a high-arousal positive state) and work engagement are both mediated by social support. Methods: A total of 292 employees from 18 companies in Wuxi and Dalian, China, were surveyed at two different time points during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results: The results show that both relationships were mediated by social support; furthermore, after the mediating effect of social support on the relationship between PoM and work engagement was controlled for, the relationship between career calling and social support failed to reach significance. Discussion: The findings attest to the unique advantages of PoM in boosting employees' resource conservation and interpersonal communication in public crises. Possible implications on applying the incentive mechanism of PoM in the workplace are discussed.
... Moreover, in their Study 2, Chen et al. (2015) found similar pattern of relationships between needs frustration and depressive feelings, and between needs satisfaction and subjective vitality. Similarly, Cordeiro et al. (2016) found that needs frustration related to heightened levels of depressive feelings, and Yu et al. (2020) found a significant negative correlation between subjective vitality and the frustration of the basic needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Therefore, these studies consistently show that needs frustration has a potential detrimental role on adolescent maladjustment, such as, in the case of the current study, depressive feelings and lack of subjective vitality. ...
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Although the detrimental role of adolescent triangulation into interparental conflict on their adjustment is well documented, the possible intervening mechanisms have not been fully investigated. Guided by the self-determination theory, we aimed to examine the mediating role of needs frustration in the relationship between adolescent triangula-tion and adjustment, namely depressive feelings and subjective vitality. Participants were 461 Turkish high school students (M age = 17.25, SD = 1.16; 64.21% females). Triangulation subscale of the Children's Perception of Inter-parental Conflict Scale was used to measure the triangulation perception of adolescents, Basic Needs Frustration subscale of the Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scale was used to measure adolescent needs frustration, Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale, and Subjective Vitality Scale were employed to assess adolescent adjustment. The results of the path analysis showed that triangulation related positively to needs frustration, which in turn, positively predicted depressive feelings and negatively predicted subjective vitality. These findings indicated the significant intervening role of needs frustration in the relationship among adolescent triangu-lation, depressive feelings, and subjective vitality. The discussion focuses on the findings and implications for the familial and individual determinants of adolescent adjustment in the context of the self-determination theory and the potential avenues for future research.
... Similar to this notion, we found a complete mediation effect of resilience between physical activity and PoM, suggesting that physical activity affects one's PoM state by improving resilience. In this manner, the frequency or intensity of physical activity might not directly improve one's PoM or inner peace, it might work through improving the nervous system by increasing top-down cognitive control, and behavioral and emotional self-regulation for resilience 38,52 , which helps individuals be more resistant to the emotional effects of acute stress 53 . ...
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Peace of mind (PoM) is an index of mental health in Asian culture and emphasizes low arousal, happiness, harmony, and an internal state of peacefulness. While previous studies have found that mindful self-awareness can contribute to PoM, regular physical activity (PA) is also an important factor contributing to one’s PoM due to its function in promoting one's resilience. The study aims to investigate a hypothetical model that assumes PA is associated with resilience while controlling for mindful self-awareness, contributing to PoM. The PoM scale, Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, Chinese translation of Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, and PA self-report questionnaire were used. A path analysis was applied to test the association between these variables and the mediating role of resilience. A total of 436 students from a university in Taiwan were recruited; the mean age was 20.87, with 46.3% female and 73.6% engaging in over 150 min/week of moderate PA. Gender and age negatively correlated with PA. After controlling for age and gender, there was no direct effect of physical activity on PoM; both mindful self-awareness and PA predict resilience, which in turn predicts PoM, suggesting that both cognitive (i.e., mindful self-awareness) and PA are important to cultivate resilience and thus PoM.
... In other words, positive parent-child relationships enable parents to provide adolescents with more support, thereby promoting the condition of BPNs (Nishimura et al., 2021). Moreover, empirical evidence suggests that BPNs increase subjective vitality in left-behind adolescents (Guo et al., 2021;Yu et al., 2020). Self-determination theory views the fulfillment of BPNs as necessary for sustaining and promoting personal subjective vitality. ...
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The term “left-behind adolescent” refers to adolescents who remain in the household registration area to live with their one parent or temporary guardian because both or one of their parents have left town for work. Subjective vitality is a crucial indicator of healthy adolescent growth. However, few studies have been conducted on the factors associated with the left-behind adolescents’ subjective vitality. This study investigated the level of subjective vitality of left-behind adolescents and explored the potential mechanisms between the parent-child relationship and subjective vitality. We collected a sample of 604 secondary school students from a rural region in southwest China (52.98% female; Mage = 13.76; SD = 0.88). We compared a mediation model among adolescents left behind by fathers (N = 200), mothers (N = 122), and both parents (N = 282). The results found that parent-child relationships were positively associated with subjective vitality. Basic psychological needs and meaning in life both mediated the relationship between the parent-child relationship and subjective vitality among left-behind adolescents. There was no significant difference in the role of the father-child relationship and the mother-child relationship. In addition, unlike previous research, we discovered no direct association between the mother-child relationship and subjective vitality when mothers were absent. And there was no significant direct relationship between the father-child relationship and subjective vitality when fathers were absent. Our findings add incremental insight into how parental absence affects left-behind adolescents’ positive psychological development.
... The perceived peace of mind of the caregiver was evaluated by the 7-item Peace of Mind scale (PoM; Lee et al., 2013;Yu et al., 2020). Participants were asked to rate their agreement with each statement on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = not at all; 5 = all the time). ...
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Introduction: Existing caregiver assessment tools were long criticized for focusing on the needs and burden while neglecting the importance of the resources. The current study aimed to develop a multidimensional and time-effective assessment tool that measures both needs and resources of non-paid family caregivers of older adults for screening and service-matching purposes. Methods: Items of the Caregiver Needs and Resources Assessment (CNRA) were developed from extensive literature reviews and focus group interviews of family caregivers and social workers in the field. In addition, we collected 317 valid responses from family caregivers of older adults from local non-government organizations in examining the psychometric properties of the CNRA. Results: The results revealed a 12-factor structure that fitted nicely into the conceptual frame of needs and resources domains. Need factors were positively associated with mental health symptoms, while resource factors were positively associated with peace in mind, meaning-making, and personal gain measures. The 36-item CNRA revealed good internal reliability and convergent validity. Discussion: The CNRA has the potential to be used as a compact yet balanced assessment tool for understanding both the needs and resources of caregivers for human service professionals.
Foreign language peace of mind (FLPOM) is conceptualized as a Chinese culture-specific low-arousal positive emotional state of inner peace and harmony. It is used to describe learners’ psychological well-being in the Chinese English as a foreign language (EFL) context. This study examines the intermediate mechanism for the positive effect of FLPOM on language achievement by testing learners’ cognitive engagement as a mediator on the relationship between FLPOM and language achievement and competitive psychological climate as a moderator of the mediation effect. Foreign language enjoyment (FLE), a comparatively high-arousal positive emotion, is also tested in the same model for comparison purposes. Results showed that cognitive engagement mediated the relationship between both FLPOM and FLE and language achievement and that competitive psychological climate negatively moderated (i.e., weakened) the mediation effect of cognitive engagement on FLE and achievement, but did not moderate the mediation effect of cognitive engagement on FLPOM and achievement. The findings point to the role of FLPOM in gaining learners’ individual resources (e.g., cognitive engagement) and, more importantly, the distinctive role of the low-arousal emotion of FLPOM in lowering resource loss and maintaining learner engagement in high resource loss (e.g., high competitiveness, high stress) circumstances.
Positive affect is often considered the “hallmark of well-being,” associated with better health, longevity, and success. Self-determination theory (SDT) proposes that satisfying three basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness (BNS) fosters optimal functioning, thriving, and positive affect. Meanwhile, broaden-and-build theory suggests that positive emotions predict future psychosocial resources such as need satisfaction. Previous research on the BNS–positive affect link has not sufficiently established to what extent changes in BNS precede changes in positive affect or vice versa. We tested this in two 3-wave longitudinal studies, conducted over 2 years in the UK (Study 1: N = 958) and over 2 months in Latin America (Study 2: N = 1200). Bivariate latent trait-state-occasion models revealed that within-person fluctuations in BNS significantly predicted subsequent fluctuations in positive affect in both studies, but fluctuations in positive affect predicted subsequent fluctuations in BNS only in Study 2. These findings consistently support SDT predictions, whereas they only partially support broaden-and-build theory predictions, helping to clarify the likely causal relations between BNS and positive affect.
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Metamotivational knowledge is a burgeoning area of study. It refers to people’s knowledge about motivation, and it has been shown to contribute to motivation and behavioral outcomes. The current study bridges metamotivational knowledge with self-determination theory (SDT), one of the most prominent theories of academic motivation. SDT proposes self-determination as a critical aspect of academic motivation. The current study thus answers two questions: What do students know about self-determination in academic motivation, and how does this knowledge predict outcomes? Two studies with college student samples from diverse cultures (American and Chinese) seek to answer these questions. The results show that students generally believe self-determined types of motivation to be more normative, more effective for performance and more beneficial for well-being than non-self-determined types. This is generally accurate, with some exceptions (e.g., the tendency to underestimate the relative normalcy of certain types of self-determined motivation). Path analyses support the hypothesized mediation model, such that believing self-determined academic motivation to be more normative and associated with better outcomes in performance and well-being, on average, predicts students' higher performance and well-being via the mediation of self-determined academic motivation. The effects of the metamotivational knowledge of self-determination hold after controlling for needs support and satisfaction processes, supporting metamotivational knowledge as an intraindividual resource for academic self-determination. In general, the mediation effects hold for both cultures, and similarities and dissimilarities from cross-cultural comparisons of metamotivational knowledge are also interpreted. The current research paves the way for metamotivational knowledge interventions aiming to improve student self-determination.
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Purpose This study translates the Subjective Vitality Scale (SVS) into Chinese and examines its factor structure and measurement invariance in a sample of Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong. Methods Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong were invited to participate in the study. Four models of the SVS (a 7-item model, two 6-item models and a 5-item model) were compared using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). The internal consistency reliability was evaluated using Cronbach’s alpha coefficients, and the criterion validity was assessed using bivariate correlations between subjective vitality and positive and negative affect. Finally, measurement invariance across genders and time points was examined to evaluate the invariance of the SVS model. Results The results of the CFA analysis indicated that the 5-item measurement model fit the data better than the other three models. The Cronbach’s alpha was above 0.70 (0.92), revealing excellent internal consistency reliability, and the SVS was significantly associated with positive affect and negatively associated with negative affect, indicating criterion validity. Finally, the measurement invariance analysis of the 5-item model displayed strict invariance across genders and time points. Conclusions The results support the 5-item measurement model of the Chinese version of the SVS. This model has excellent internal consistency reliability, supports the criterion validity of the instrument and demonstrates strict invariance across genders and time points. In summary, the findings suggest that the 5-item Chinese version of the SVS is a reliable and valid instrument for assessing the subjective vitality of Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong.
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Three studies involving 3 participant samples (Ns = 39, 55, and 53) tested the hypothesis that people retrieve episodic emotion knowledge when reporting on their emotions over short (e.g., last few hours) time frames, but that they retrieve semantic emotion knowledge when reporting on their emotions over long (e.g., last few months) time frames. Support for 2 distinct judgment strategies was based on judgment latencies (Studies 1 and 2) and priming paradigms (Studies 2 and 3). The authors suggest that self-reports of emotion over short versus long time frames assess qualitatively different sources of self-knowledge.
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Self-determination theory proposes that human beings have universal basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness, which when satisfied lead to well-being. The current meta-analysis synthesized the correlations between the need for autonomy and subjective well-being. More specifically, because some researchers have questioned the role of autonomy in well-being in non-Western cultures, our meta-analysis focused on the results reported from studies conducted in the United States (US, a typical individualist culture) and East Asian countries (typical collectivist cultures). Random-effects analyses using 36 independent samples (22 from the US and 14 from East Asian samples including China and Japan) totaling 12,906 participants showed a moderate correlation (r = .46, p < .001) between autonomy and subjective well-being. The difference between correlations for studies conducted in the East and West was not significant (Δr = .05, p > .05). Overall, this study lends support to self-determination theory’s proposition that autonomy is a universal psychological need and provides suggestions for cultural practices and policies.
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The Subjective Vitality Scale (SVS: Ryan & Frederick, 1997) is a 7-item self-report instrument to measure one’s level of vitality and has been widely used in psychological studies. However, there have been discrepancies in which version of the SVS (7- or 6-item version) employed between as well as within researchers. Moreover, Item 5 seems not be a good indicator of vitality from a content validity perspective. Therefore, the present study aimed to evaluate the validity and reliability of the SVS for Japanese and Singaporeans rigorously by comparing 3 measurement models (5-, 6-, and 7-item models). To this end, the scale was first translated from English to Japanese and then the Japanese and English versions of the scale were administered to Japanese (n = 268) and Singaporean undergraduate students (n = 289) respectively. The factorial and concurrent validity of the three models were examined independently on each of the samples. Furthermore, the covariance stability of the vitality responses was assessed over a 4-week time period for another independent Japanese sample (n = 140). The findings from this study indicated that from methodological and content validity perspectives, the 5-item model is considered most preferable for both language versions of the SVS. -- (The content sharing link for this article is
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Self-determination theory (SDT) conceptualizes basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness as innate and essential for ongoing psychological growth, internalization, and well-being. We broadly review the literature on basic psychological need satisfaction at work with three more specific aims: to test SDT’s requirement that each basic psychological need should uniquely predict psychological growth, internalization, and well-being; to test whether use of an overall need satisfaction measure is appropriate; and to test whether the scale used to assess basic psychological needs influenced our results. To this end, we conducted a meta-analytic review of 99 studies with 119 distinct samples examining the antecedents and consequences of basic need satisfaction. We conclude with recommendations for addressing issues arising from our review and also identify points for future research, including the study of need frustration and culture, integrating the basic needs with other motivation theories, and a caution regarding the measures and methods used.
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The present study investigated whether satisfaction and frustration of the psychological needs for autonomy, relatedness, and competence, as identified within Basic Psychological Need Theory (BPNT; Deci and Ryan, Psychol Inquiry 11:227-268, 2000; Ryan and Deci, Psychol Inquiry 11:319-338, 2000), contributes to participants' well-being and ill-being, regardless of their cultural background and interpersonal differences in need strength, as indexed by either need valuation (i.e., the stated importance of the need to the person) or need desire (i.e., the desire to get a need met). In Study 1, involving late adolescents from Belgium and China (total N = 685; Mean age = 17 years), autonomy and competence satisfaction had unique associations with well-being and individual differences in need valuation did not moderate these associations. Study 2 involved participants from four culturally diverse nations (Belgium, China, USA, and Peru; total N = 1,051; Mean age = 20 years). Results provided evidence for the measurement equivalence of an adapted scale tapping into both need satisfaction and need frustration. Satisfaction of each of the three needs was found to contribute uniquely to the prediction of well-being, whereas frustration of each of the three needs contributed uniquely to the prediction of ill-being. Consistent with Study 1, the effects of need satisfaction and need frustration were found to be equivalent across the four countries and were not moderated by individual differences in the desire for need satisfaction. These findings underscore BPNT's universality claim, which states that the satisfaction of basic needs for autonomy, relatedness, and competence represent essential nutrients for optimal functioning across cultures and across individual differences in need strength.
Although the literature that connects positive affect (PA) to health has exploded over the last 20 years, the approach to studying this topic has remained simplistic. Specifically, researchers overwhelmingly rely on the principle that all PA is healthful, all of the time. Here, we review recent studies indicating that a more nuanced approach is valuable. In particular, we demonstrate that a more thoughtful approach to factors such as arousal, culture, timing, and measurement type results in a more complex picture of when PA is helpful and when it is not. Taking these issues into account also has implications for the types of mechanisms underlying these associations, as well as how other moderators might operate. Thus, we argue that considering these gradations will allow researchers to develop successful and theoretically based health interventions, untangle mixed findings, and enable a deeper understanding of the connection between PA and health.
The choice of college majors is an important career decision for many contemporary youths. Based on self-determination theory, we propose that the self-determined motivation underlying youths’ choice of major is critical for their optimal functioning, performance and well-being in college. We also propose that the effects of a self-determined choice of major is mediated by the self-determined motivation to study and that the self-determined choice of major is predicted by autonomy-supportive parenting and individual differences in autonomous functioning. Structural equation modeling results obtained from college students in two studies (N = 146 and 479) showed that (1) these hypotheses were supported using both cross-sectional and longitudinal designs and subjective and objective measures; (2) these structural relationships received support and were invariant for both Chinese and American students; (3) Chinese students scored significantly lower on various variables related to self-determination than American students; and (4) several direct predictive effects were also identified beyond the model we proposed. We suggest that future studies could improve the psychometric quality of measurements, conduct in-depth cross-cultural comparisons, and expand the current model with additional variables. Implications for parenting and career counseling practices are also discussed.