Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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A self‐determination theory approach to health and well‐being in the workplace: Results from the sixth European working conditions survey in Spain


Research to date has underlined the importance of positive organizational psychology to improve health and psychological well‐being (PWB) in the workplace. The purpose of the present research is to test a model linking satisfaction of the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness, as identified by self‐determination theory (SDT), and various individual work‐related outcomes, such as job satisfaction, PWB, and health problems in Spanish employees. Nationally representative data from the sixth European Survey on Working Conditions is Spain were used. Structural equation modeling was performed to examine the mediational role of job satisfaction in the relationships between psychological need satisfaction in the workplace and its consequences for PWB and health problems in Spanish employees. The results indicated that the fulfillment of basic psychological needs in the workplace is related to higher job satisfaction and that higher job satisfaction is associated with higher PWB and fewer health problems. Higher perceived competence and relatedness in the workplace were also related to greater PWB and fewer health problems. These results suggest that SDT is a valid approach that may guide interventions in the workplace to promote job satisfaction, PWB, and physical health in employees.

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