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University Students’ Subjective Well-being: The Role of Autonomy Support from Parents, Friends, and the Romantic Partner


  • Catherine Ratelle


  • Karine Simard
  • Frédéric Guay


This study investigated the relations between perceived autonomy support from three significant sources (parents, friends, and the romantic partner) and university students’ subjective well-being (SWB) using two approaches: a variable-centered and person-centered approach. Participants were 256 university students (191 women, 65 men) involved in a romantic relationship. Results from both approaches revealed that students’ perception that significant individuals support their autonomy predicted higher levels of SWB. Furthermore, results from a person-centered approach suggested that students reported the highest levels of SWB when all sources were perceived to be highly autonomy supportive. Together, these findings support a sensitization process of need satisfaction. Implications for SWB and self-determination theory are discussed. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine Ratelle & Karine Simard & Frédéric Guay, 2013. "University Students’ Subjective Well-being: The Role of Autonomy Support from Parents, Friends, and the Romantic Partner," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 893-910, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:14:y:2013:i:3:p:893-910
    DOI: 10.1007/s10902-012-9360-4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ryan Howell & David Chenot & Graham Hill & Colleen Howell, 2011. "Momentary Happiness: The Role of Psychological Need Satisfaction," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 1-15, March.
    2. Melikşah Demir & Metin Özdemir, 2010. "Friendship, Need Satisfaction and Happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 243-259, April.
    3. Michael Eid & Ed Diener, 2004. "Global Judgments of Subjective Well-Being: Situational Variability and Long-Term Stability," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 65(3), pages 245-277, February.
    4. Carol Nickerson & Ed Diener & Norbert Schwarz, 2011. "Positive Affect and College Success," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 717-746, August.
    5. Richard M. Ryan & Veronika Huta & Edward Deci, 2008. "Living well: a self-determination theory perspective on eudaimonia," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 139-170, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. İlhan Yalçın & Asude Malkoç, 2015. "The Relationship Between Meaning in Life and Subjective Well-Being: Forgiveness and Hope as Mediators," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 915-929, August.


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