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Self-determination theory and older adults : a qualitative analysis of how senior citizens perceive relatedness over their course of life and during the Corona pandemic 2020

Büttner, C. (2020) Self-determination theory and older adults : a qualitative analysis of how senior citizens perceive relatedness over their course of life and during the Corona pandemic 2020.

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Abstract:This study was based on the Basic Psychological Needs Theory (BPNT). This theory claims that the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness have to be satisfied in order to achieve full well-being (Ryan & Deci, 2008). This research, however, only concentrated on the need relatedness. The aim was to find out how people over the age of 60 and living at home experience and have experienced the satisfaction of need for relatedness, also in the times of the Corona pandemic 2020. This was investigated using an inductive interview approach concerning four different life spans: the past, the time shortly before the Corona pandemic, during the pandemic and its mitigation measures and, lastly, the future. The sample consisted of four people (three female, one male, mean age: 70.5). The findings of this study indicate that people have their own definition of relatedness. However, it seems that all participants needed to experience some sense of mutuality, compassion as well as trust and reliance to feel related to a person. Regardless of this definition, all participants stated that relatedness is more of a feeling for them, rather than a need, e.g., feeling cared about, feeling home or feeling a connection, regardless of to whom or what. This might be interesting for future research. Regarding the change of relatedness over time, participants indicated that, in their youth, this need was satisfied with being liked by others whereas only later in their adulthood, they had the desire for closer emotional connections to satisfy their need for relatedness. The Corona pandemic did not represent an obstacle to relatedness for the participants. They minimised most contacts to phone or text but apart from that, they did not feel less related than before the pandemic. However, this might also be because many of them thought the measures would diminish in a few weeks. Hence, further research should be conducted that focuses on a possible lack of need satisfaction during the later stages of the pandemic. Regarding the future, all claimed to be satisfied with the situation as it is and did not have any other desires regarding relatedness.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/82506
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