Investigating the Multidimensionality of Need Fulfillment: A Bifactor Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling Representation

This article assesses the multidimensionality of the Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scale (BPNSFS) using bifactor exploratory structural equation modeling (bifactor ESEM). The first study relies on a sample of community adults (N = 2,301), and revealed the superiority of a bifactor ESEM representation, supporting the 6-factor structure of BPNSFS ratings, and the presence of a single continuum of need fulfillment relative to 2 distinct dimensions reflecting need satisfaction and frustration. These results were replicated in a second representative sample of the Hungarian adult population (N = 504), as well as across gender, and found no evidence of differential item functioning as a function of age. Relative to males, females presented higher levels of relatedness satisfaction and lower levels of competence satisfaction. Finally, autonomy frustration decreased with age, whereas competence satisfaction and frustration presented opposite curvilinear tendencies, showing that the fulfillment of this need increased sharply for younger participants, a tendency that became less pronounced with age.