Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction, and Frustration Scales

Self-determination theory posits three universal psychological needs: autonomy; competence; and relatedness, and suggests that these must be ongoingly satisfied for people to maintain optimal performance and well-being.

More recently, questionnaires assessing not only need satisfaction, but also need frustration have been developed, namely, Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scales. There is a general form, as well as domain specific forms for: education and physical education; relationships; training; sport; physical exercise; and work. There is also an adaptation of the general scale for daily measurement (diary-studies). These scales are important because need satisfaction is associated with well-being whereas need frustration is associated with ill-being. Often being able to predict both is useful. However, if you are interested only in the level of need satisfaction, the original scales, Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction (in general, work domain, and relationship domain), would likely be most appropriate.

The Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction Scales is a set of original questionnaires that assess the degree to which people feel satisfaction of these three needs. There is a: general form, as well as domain specific forms for work and relationships.

Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scales (BPNSFS)

‘Full Packet’ above includes the following scales:

  • 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).

  • BPNSFS – Diary Measures 

This scale (included in the ‘full packet’) addresses both need satisfaction and frustration on a daily basis. It has 12 items assessing the three needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Although still in experimental stage, this assessment of needs was shown to be related in theoretically meaningful ways to daily contextual support of the needs and well-being outcomes (see van der Kaap-Deeder, Vansteenkiste, Soenens, & Mabbe, 2017). Currently, English and Dutch versions are available for adults, children, romantic partners, and mother/child.

* References/validation of scales can be found in ‘full packet’ under the scale items. These scales have been primarily based on the original scale assessing needs in general validated by: Chen, B., Vansteenkiste, M., Beyers, W., Boone, L., Deci, E. L., Van der Kaap-Deeder, J., Duriez, B. Lens, W., Matos, L., Mouratidis, A., Ryan, R. M., Sheldon, K. M., Soenens, B., Van Petegem, S., & Verstuyf, J. (2015). Basic psychological need satisfaction, need frustration, and need strength across four cultures. Motivation and Emotion, 39, 216-236.

Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction Scales 

Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction Scale – In General

This scale addresses need satisfaction in general in one’s life. It has 21 items assessing the three needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness (Deci & Ryan, 2000). Please use the following references when using this scale: (Deci & Ryan, 2000; Gagné, 2003).

Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction Scale – Relationship Domain

This scale addresses need satisfaction in one’s particular relationships (e.g., spouse, best friend, mother). It has 9 items assessing the three needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Please use the following reference when using this scale: (La Guardia, Ryan, Couchman, & Deci, 2000).

Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction Scale – Work Domain

This scale addresses need satisfaction in one’s work domain. It has 21 items assessing the three needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness (Deci & Ryan, 2000). Please use the following references when using this scale: (Deci, Ryan, Gagné, Leone, Usunov, & Kornazheva, 2001; Ilardi, Leone, Kasser, & Ryan, 1993; Kasser, Davey, & Ryan, 1992).