The development and initial validation of need satisfaction scales within the psychology of working theory

Kelsey L. Autin, Ryan D. Duffy, David L. Blustein, Nicholas P. Gensmer, Richard P. Douglass, Jessica W. England, Blake A. Allan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The psychology of working theory (PWT; Duffy, Blustein, Diemer, & Autin, 2016) provides a framework to understand predictors and outcomes of decent work. Given that basic need satisfaction is hypothesized to be a primary mediator in the link between decent work and well-being, it is essential to have valid and reliable scales that are consistent with the PWT framework. In the current study, we developed the Work Needs Satisfaction Scales, a set of instruments designed to measure satisfaction of survival, social contribution, and self-determination needs from a PWT perspective. In Study 1 (N = 345), a pool of items was developed and exploratory factor analysis was conducted, resulting in five 4-item scales representing survival need satisfaction, social contribution need satisfaction, and three components of self-determination need satisfaction (i.e., autonomy, competence, relatedness). In Study 2 (N = 476), we used confirmatory factor analysis to test 4 different structural models, finding that there were no significant differences between models. Thus, results offer a flexible 5-factor model, the structure of which may be adapted based on theory and researcher needs. Authors provide theory-driven recommendations on how to best use choice of structural models for PWT research. Finally, we demonstrated convergent, discriminant, and concurrent validity for the structural model most consistent with the PWT. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-209
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Counseling Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Instrument development
  • Need satisfaction
  • Psychology of working

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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