On the Importance of Balanced Need Fulfillment: A Person-Centered Perspective

  • István Tóth-KirályEmail author
  • Beáta Bőthe
  • Gábor Orosz
  • Adrien Rigó
Research Paper


Self-determination theory proposes that the fulfillment of the three basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness is important for optimal functioning. While support for this proposition have been well-documented, little attention has been paid to how these needs interact within individuals and whether having equally low, medium or high level of need fulfillment (i.e., balanced need satisfaction) has additional effects over and above the aggregated need fulfillment itself. The present study addresses these questions by examining the importance of having balanced versus imbalanced need fulfillment by adopting latent profile analysis, making it possible to distinguish quantitative and qualitative need-related differences. This research also documents the relations of these need profiles in relation to theoretically-relevant profile predictors (perceived interpersonal behaviors) and outcomes (affect and passion). A total of 1094 adults (female = 746, Mage = 26.00, SDage = 7.69) participated in this study. A four-profile solution appeared to be the most optimal: (1) balanced, all needs are highly satisfied, (2) imbalanced, only relatedness is highly satisfied, (3) balanced, all needs are average, and (4) balanced, all needs are frustrated. Interestingly, these profiles differed from one another in terms of obsessive passion, negative affect, and, to a smaller extent, positive affect, but not harmonious passion. Finally, profile membership was predicted by the perceived need nurturing global factor as well as by some of the specific factors. These results support the hypothesis that, apart from need fulfillment, need balance is also important for wellbeing and optimal functioning.


Balanced basic psychological needs Dualistic model of passion (DMP) Interpersonal behavior Latent profile analysis (LPA) Person-centered Positive and negative affect 



The first author was supported by the ÚNKP-17-3 New National Excellence Program of the Ministry of Human Capacities. The first third authors were also supported by the Hungarian Research Fund (NKFI FK 124225).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10902_2018_66_MOESM1_ESM.docx (74 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 75 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Doctoral School of PsychologyELTE Eötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Institute of PsychologyELTE Eötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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