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Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scale (BPNSFS)

Within Basic Psychological Need Theory, the satisfaction of the psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness are said to represent essential nutrients of growth (Deci & Ryan, 2000; Ryan & Deci, 2017). To the extent experience a sense of volition and psychological freedom (i.e., autonomy), a sense of effectiveness and mastery (i.e., competence) and a sense of intimacy and connection with important others (i.e., relatedness), their psychological well-being and health should be enhanced.

Over the past few years, it has become increasingly clear that the absence of psychological need satisfaction does not by definition imply its frustration (Bartholomew, Ntoumanis, Ryan, Thogersen-Ntoumani, 2011; Ryan & Deci, 2017; Vansteenkiste & Ryan, 2013). Psychological need frustration involves more than the mere deprivation of one’s needs. For instance, although an employee may not feel a strong bond with his coworkers on a particular day, this does not necessarily imply he feels isolated and excluded, being indicative of relatedness frustration. Similarly, although a child may at school not feel particularly interested and volitionally engaged in a learning task, it does not imply the child is acting against its own will, with the latter being indicative of autonomy need frustration. Finally, an athlete may struggle with effectively carrying out a new technique and experience little competence, but that does not mean the athlete would by definition feel like a failure. Note though that the presence of need frustration does imply low need satisfaction (Vansteenkiste & Ryan, 2013). That is, when individuals feel isolated, pressured and conflict and as a failure, their psychological needs will not be satisfied. Given this asymmetrical relation between need satiafction and need frustration (Vansteenkiste & Ryan, 2013), a moderate negative relationship between both can be theoretically expected.

To capture both the satisfaction and the frustration component, a new scale, that is, the Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scale (BPNSFS; Chen, Vansteenkiste, et al., 2015), was developed, which includes a balanced combination of satisfaction and frustration items. Various studies (see below) have provided evidence for the distinction between need satisfaction and need frustration. Further, congruent with theorizing, psychological need satisfaction was found to play a critical role in individuals’ growth and well-being, whereas need frustration was especially predictive of individuals’ problem behavior and psychopathology (Vansteenkiste & Ryan, 2013).


Main Questionnaire

3 MB

Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scales (BPNSFS)

Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scales (BPNSFS)

The full packet includes the following:

BPNSFS – General

This scale addresses both need satisfaction and frustration in general in one’s life (including versions for adults and children, and adults with intellectual disabilities for certain languages like Dutch, English, German, and Spanish). It has 24 items assessing the three needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness, and has been translated into the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Serbian, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, and Turkish

BPNSFS - Astronauts


BPNSFS – Education/School (students and teachers)

Dutch, Spanish

BPNSFS – Leisure Time


BPNSFS – Motherhood


BPNSFS – Physical Education

Dutch, Estonian, German, and Persian versions

BPNSFS – Physical Exercise (including exercise instructors)

German and Portuguese versions

BPNSFS – Relationships (Romantic and sibling)

Dutch version

BPNSFS – Retrospective/Life Experiences


BPNSFS – Sport

Dutch version is currently available

BPNSFS – Sport coach


BPNSFS – Training

Dutch and English versions

BPNSFS – Vignette/Situational

Dutch and French

BPNSFS – Work Domain

English (2 versions), Dutch, Norwegian

Domain Specific Questionnaire(s)



Manual of the Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scale (BPNSFS)

Van der Kaap-Deeder, J. Soenens, B. Ryan, R. M. Vansteenkiste, M.

Validation Articles

BPNSFS - General

(2015) Personality and Individual Differences

Examining the role of psychological need satisfaction in sleep: A self-determination theory perspective

Campbell, R. Vansteenkiste, M. Delesie, L. M. Mariman, A. N. Soenens, B. Tobback, E. Van der Kaap-Deeder, J. Vogelaers, D. P.

(2015) Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

Autonomy-supportive parenting and autonomy-supportive sibling interactions: The role of mothers’ and siblings’ psychological need satisfaction

Van der Kaap-Deeder, J. Vansteenkiste, M. Soenens, B. Loeys, T. Mabbe, E. Gargurevich, R.