The perceived conditions for living well: Positive perceptions of primary goods linked with basic psychological needs and wellness

Emma L. Bradshaw, Cody R. DeHaan, Philip D. Parker, Randall Curren, Jasper J. Duineveld, Stefano I. Di Domenico, Richard M. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We integrate John Rawls’ concept of primary goods with self-determination theory, to examine the links between people’s perceptions of primary goods (i.e., views of society as providing access to the necessities of a meaningful life), basic psychological needs, and well-being. In Study 1 (N = 762, countries = Australia, the United States, South Africa, India, and the Philippines) and Study 2 (N = 1479, groups = ethnic minority, sexual minority, political group, religious group), we used partial least squares structural equation modelling to assess associations between primary goods’ perceptions and wellness, and the intermediary role of basic psychological needs. Across groups, primary goods’ perceptions linked positively to well-being (average effect size = 0.48), and negatively to ill-being (average effect size = −0.46), mediated strongly by basic psychological needs (average percentage mediated: 53% Study 1, 68% Study 2). Results signify the importance of primary goods’ perceptions to individuals’ wellness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-60
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Australian Research Council [DE140100080]; and the University of Rochester.

Funding Information:
Study 1 obtained ethical clearance from the University of Rochester Research Subjects Review Board (RSRB00065940) and Study 2 obtained ethical approval from the Australian Catholic University Human Research Ethics Committee (2018–114E) prior to data collection. All participants gave informed consent as a part of their online participation. Study 1 was funded by the Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology at the University of Rochester, and Study 2 was funded by a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DE140100080) granted to the third author. The authors confirm that we have no relevant financial or non-financial competing interests to report. For the purposes of open science, we have made our data freely available on the Open Science Framework ( ). The data for Study 1 also included Lorgelly et al.’s () 18-item measure of Nussbaum’s () capabilities. We have not made the responses from the Lorgelly et al. () measure available as these data are core to separate future research. To date, research using these data has not been published nor submitted for publication elsewhere and appears only in the second author’s PhD thesis (DeHaan, ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • SDT
  • autonomy
  • capabilities
  • positive psychology
  • social justice


Dive into the research topics of 'The perceived conditions for living well: Positive perceptions of primary goods linked with basic psychological needs and wellness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this