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Investigating Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Value Signatures of Online Behaviors in Young Adults

Schmitt, Niklas (2021) Investigating Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Value Signatures of Online Behaviors in Young Adults.

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Abstract:Introduction: The distribution and usage of the digital space has reached new heights, yet too much is still unknown about the effects of engaging in various online behaviors. This is especially true for young adults, as they are the most represented age group online and deal with the important task of identity development during this period of life, a crucial component of their current and future well-being. Part of this development is exploring and committing to a set of values, which are priorities guiding individuals’ decision making and behavior. Another crucial part of healthy identity development in young adults is the satisfaction of the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Both values and need satisfaction were scarcely researched in the online context. This led to the current study, investigating relations of online behaviors with values and need satisfaction by employing the method of Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), while also associating both identity development processes in the digital space with well-being. Methods: Two surveys that were carried out before and after the EMA assessed participants’ value traits, well-being, and general need satisfaction. During the EMA, participants were asked three times a day for seven days which recent online behavior was most important to them. They were asked to assign importance ratings of every value to this online act, as well as the degree of need satisfaction stemming from this online behavior for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Results: After aggregating the data, each online behavior could be associated with a value importance rating. Especially self-direction, hedonism, and stimulation seem to be important motivators when engaging in the digital space, as they were most prevalent. Also, average need satisfaction scores of every online behavior were obtained, with autonomy being mostly satisfied in the digital space. However, neither values nor online need satisfaction was significantly correlated with well-being. Discussion: The current findings give the first insight into which values are common in the digital space and which psychological needs are satisfied through the online presence of young adults. Especially self-direction, stimulation, and hedonism seemed to be important during participants’ online behaviors, even though most other values played a role as well in online behaviors. Regarding the psychological need satisfaction online, particularly autonomy was regularly satisfied through online engagement. Despite these general tendencies, the current study was one of the first to distinguish between different online behaviors regarding value importance and need satisfaction.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies, 77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/88235
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