Meta Needs in the context of Schema Therapy: Psychometric qualities of a new Meta Needs Questionnaire and relationships with depression, anxiety and schemas


  • Nicolai Groeger


Schema Therapy proposes that when core emotional needs are frustrated in childhood, these experiences lead to rigid patterns of thoughts and feelings in important life circumstances, that are known as early maladaptive schemas (Young et al., 2003). Clinical practice recently indicated another type of needs that is more abstract and philosophical, similar to the ones proposed by existential and humanistic psychology. "Meaning in life", "living an authentic life", and "feeling as a part of the world" are some examples (Prochaska & Norcross, 2010), which are also called "Meta Needs" (Maslow, 1971). To provide the groundwork for utilizing the Meta Needs concept in the Schema Therapy practice, a Meta Needs Questionnaire (MNQ) was developed that investigates the satisfaction levels of Meta Needs. The present study explores the psychometric properties of the MNQ. Factor analysis of the items revealed two factors, which were labeled "Authenticity and "Liveliness". Item-analysis showed good to excellent reliability measures of the MNQ, also regarding split-half reliability. Correlations with anxiety and depression were significant, demonstrating  construct validity of the scale. As to criterion-related validity, the study confirmed the hypothesis that schemas negatively correlate with attained Meta Needs fulfillment. A possible interpretation of the results is that when core emotional needs are unmet, Meta Needs are also not met, and this state seems to be related to clinical symptoms.