Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Subjective Well-Being of Tribal and Non-Tribal People in Relation to Psychological Needs Introduction

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Subjective Well-Being of Tribal and Non-Tribal People in Relation to Psychological Needs Introduction

Article excerpt

After the lost popularity of the needs approach in the 1970s and 1980s, theorists have again beckoned need constructs, because these motivational variables offer pledge for organizing and understanding a variety of surface or 'phenotypic' effects at a deeper or more 'genotypic' level (Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Deci, 1992; Sheldon, Ryan, & Reis, 1996). Need constructs, defined in the light of theories of optimal adaptation and performance, are especially useful to predict important outcomes such as adjustment, and well-being (Baard, Deci, & Ryan, 1998; Ryan, 1995; Sheldon & Elliot, 1999).

Psychological needs arc essential motivators of group behavior (e.g.Tajfel, 1981 ; Tajfel & Turner, 1986), personality and motivation theorists have been sluggish to apply their models of psychological needs to group-functioning. Two contemporary theories of psychological needs such as optimal distinctiveness theory (Brewer, 1991) and self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1991) was employed for guidance in selecting and interpreting candidate need construct. Optimal distinctinctveness theory (ODT; Brewer, 1991, 1993a) offers one model of psychological needs relevant for understanding well-being within group contexts. This theory builds on social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1986) and selfcategorization theory (Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher, & Wetherall, 1887), which assert that humans derive extended self-concepts from their group memberships. When a social identity is salient, people typically distinguish themselves as interchangeable representatives of the social group category, tending to become somewhat depersonalized in the process (Turner et al., 1987). Humans have two primary social needs or drives, such as needs for assimilation and for differentiation (Brewer, 1991). Assimilation can be defined as the desire to feel 'inclusion within larger collectives' (Brewer, 1991, p. 478), whereas differentiation refers to a desire to 'distinguish from any other persons in the social context' ( 1991, p. 477). That is, people would like to feel both similar to and distinct from others.

Self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985, 1991) is applicable for understanding personal thriving within group contexts. SDT posits three innate psychological needs (for autonomy, competence and relatedness) and theorizes that fulfillment of those needs is indispensable for psychological growth, integrity and well-being (Ryan & Deci, 2000, 2001). Autonomy means the desire to 'self-organize experience and behavior, and to have activity be concordant with one's integrated sense of self (Deci & Ryan, 2000). Relatedness indicates the 'desire to feel connected to others' (Deci & Ryan, 2000). They conceive of these constructs as factors that foster wellbeing by maximizing one's potential. Further, they argue that the thwarting of any of these three needs is psychologically harmful.

Subjective well-being (SWB) is defined as 'a person's cognitive and affective evaluations of his or her life' (Diener, Lucas, & Oshi, 2002, p. 63). The cognitive element refers to what one thinks about his or her life satisfaction in global tenus (life as a whole) and in domain tenus (in specific areas of life such as work, relationships, etc.). The affective element refers to emotions, moods and feelings. Pressman and cohén (2005) defined positive affect as the feelings that reflect a level of pleasurable engagement with the environment such as happiness, joy, excitement, enthusiasm, and contentment. Affect is deemed negative when the emotions, moods and feelings experienced are unpleasant such as depression, anxiety, hostility, guilt, anger, shame etc (Watson & Pennebekar, 1989). A person who has a high level of satisfaction with their life, and who experiences a greater positive affect and little or less negative affect, would be deemed to have a high level of SWB [or in simpler terms, be very happy]. The concept of SWB falls within the 'hedonic' perspective that defines well-being or happiness as being fundamentally about maximizing pleasure and avoiding or minimizing pain. …

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