Happy To Be “Me?” Authenticity, Psychological Need Satisfaction, and Subjective Well-Being in Adolescence

Sander Thomaes, Constantine Sedikides, Nellie van den Bos, Roos Hutteman, Albert Reijntjes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adolescents have a strong desire to “be themselves.” How does experiencing authenticity—the sense of being one's true self—influence subjective well-being? What allows adolescents to experience authenticity? This research tests a working model of how authenticity is implicated in adolescents’ well-being. Using survey, diary, and experimental methodologies, four studies (total N = 759, age range = 12–17) supported the main tenets of the model. Authenticity (a) enhances well-being, (b) covaries with satisfaction of psychological needs for relatedness and competence; is caused by satisfaction of the need for autonomy; and (c) mediates the link between need satisfaction and well-being. Authenticity is more than a powerful motive: It has robust, replicable effects on well-being and may thus be a pervasive force in positive youth development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1045-1056
Number of pages12
JournalChild Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Authors. Child Development © 2017 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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