Revisiting the link between job satisfaction and life satisfaction: The role of basic psychological needs

Wenceslao Unanue, Marcos E. Gómez, Diego Cortez, Juan C. Oyanedel, Andrés Mendiburo-Seguel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


The link between job satisfaction and life satisfaction has been extensively explored in the relevant literature. However, the great majority of past research has been carried out using cross-sectional analyses, and almost exclusively in the Western world. Moreover, the underlying psychological mechanisms explaining the link are not yet completely understood. Thus, we report the first research to date which uses both cross-sectional and longitudinal data among workers in Chile—a fast-developing Latin American economy—and which aims to tackle previous limitations. Three studies consistently support a positive link between the constructs. Study 1 (N = 636) found that higher job satisfaction predicted higher life satisfaction both contemporaneously and longitudinally, and vice versa, above and beyond several key control variables. Study 2 (N = 725) and Study 3 (N = 703) replicated Study 1 results, but tested for the first time the role of satisfaction of basic psychological needs (as stated by self-determination theory) in the job–life satisfaction link. This is the most novel contribution of our paper. Key implications not only for individual quality of life, but also for companies’ human resource practices emerge from our findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number680
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - May 2017


  • Chile
  • Job satisfaction
  • Life satisfaction
  • Longitudinal analyses
  • Need satisfaction
  • Self-determination theory


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