Basic psychological needs are universal sources of mental growth and development.
This study investigated the relationship between basic psychological needs and emotional and behavioral problems in middle school students.
This study adopted a cross-sectional and correlational research design. The sample consisted of 1099 students from three middle schools with different socioeconomic backgrounds. Data were collected using a sociodemographic characteristics questionnaire, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, and the Basic Psychological Needs Scale (BPNS). The data were analyzed using multiple linear regression analysis.
A one-unit increase in autonomy, competence, and relatedness led to a 0.312, 0.263, and 0.312 decrease in emotional and behavioral problems, respectively (p < 0.05). The regression analysis showed that gender (female), academic performance (poor), mother’s parenting style (authoritarian), and father’s parenting style (permissive) were the risk factors affecting participants’ emotional and behavioral problems (p < 0.05).
Our results indicate that some basic psychological needs and sociodemographic characteristics make middle school students more likely to develop emotional and behavioral problems. Authorities should develop interventions on basic psychological needs to promote emotional and behavioral development. Researchers should assess the effectiveness of those interventions.