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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 (Ryan & Deci, 2000; 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). It has 24 items assessing the three needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness, and has been translated into the following languages: Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Serbian, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, and Turkish

BPNSFS – Physical Education

Dutch, Estonian, German, and Persian versions

BPNSFS – Physical Exercise

German and Portuguese versions

BPNSFS – Sport

Dutch version is currently available

BPNSFS – Education (students and teachers)

Dutch version

BPNSFS – Romantic Relationships

Dutch version

BPNSFS – Training

Dutch and English versions

BPNSFS – Work Domain

This scale addresses both need satisfaction and frustration in the context of one’s workplace. Although still in experimental stage (and NOT included in the ‘full packet’ yet but available for download below), this assessment of needs was shown to be related in theoretically meaningful ways to work adjustment (see Schultz, Ryan, Niemiec, Legate, & Williams, 2015).



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

Jolene Van der Kaap-Deeder Richard Ryan Bart Soenens Maarten Vansteenkiste

Validation Articles

BPNSFS - general (Dutch)

(2015) Motivation and Emotion

Basic psychological need satisfaction, need frustration, and need strength across four cultures

Lennia Matos Edward Deci Richard Ryan Kennon Sheldon Maarten Vansteenkiste

(2015) Personality and Individual Differences

Examining the role of psychological need satisfaction in sleep: A Self-Determination Theory perspective

Jolene Van der Kaap-Deeder Bart Soenens Maarten Vansteenkiste

(2015) Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

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

Jolene Van der Kaap-Deeder Bart Soenens Maarten Vansteenkiste