The authors explored ways in which needs for autonomy and relatedness can be simultaneously met within the context of group life. Specifically, it was hypothesized that social role performances provide means of both expressing the self and connecting with group members. Consistent with the assumption that autonomy and relatedness are complementary rather than conflictual, these needs were positively correlated in all 5 studies. Consistent with the authors' assumption that these needs are both important, feelings of autonomy and relatedness in social roles independently predicted subjective well-being, as measured by concurrent (Studies I and 3), peer-report (Study 2). and longitudinal (Studies 4 and 5) methodologies. Study 5 showed that participants whose characteristics matched an assigned role experienced more autonomy and relatedness and thus more positive mood during a group task. Implications for optimal functioning in group contexts are discussed.
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