Relationships between social interactions, basic psychological needs, and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic

James Dimmock, Amanda E. Krause, Amanda Rebar, Ben Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Social lockdowns associated with COVID-19 have led individuals to increasingly rely on video conferencing and other technology-based interactions to fulfil social needs. The extent to which these interactions, as well as traditional face-to-face interactions, satisfied psychological needs and supported wellbeing during different periods of the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to be elucidated. In this study, university students’ social interactions (both technology-based and face-to-face), psychological needs, and wellbeing were assessed at six time points across four months of government-enforced restrictions in Australia. Design: Repeated survey assessment. Main outcome measures: Basic psychological need satisfaction; general wellbeing. Results: Results demonstrated that, at the within-subjects level, relatedness satisfaction (feeling understood by, cared for, and connected to others) significantly mediated the relationship between technology-based interaction and wellbeing. Autonomy satisfaction (self-initiation and feeling ownership over decisions and behaviours) mediated the relationship between face-to-face interactions and wellbeing at the within-person level. Conclusion: Discussion is centred on the importance of technology-based interactions for needs satisfaction and wellbeing during periods of social isolation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-469
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number4
Early online date17 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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