Biosci. Biotech. Res. Comm. 10(3): 346-353 (2017)
Resilience and basic psychological needs among
Palestinian school students
Shadi Khalil Abualkibash
and Maria Jose Lera
Faculty of Psychology Education Universidad de 2 Santiago de Compostela
Faculty of Psychology, Seville University, Seville, Spain
The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between Basic Psychological Needs including Autonomy,
Competence and Relatedness (Deci and Ryan, 2000) and factors predicting resilience (American Psychological, 2010)
among Palestinian school students who are living under adversity in the West Bank. The participants were 537
students 13 and 14 years old (45% male and 55% female) representing both urban and rural areas of the northern
West Bank. All participants completed the CYRM-28 Psychological Resilience Questionnaire (Liebenberg etal., 2012)
and The Basic Psychological Needs Scale-General Version (Ilardi etal., 1993). Structural Equation Modeling (SEM)
analysis results showed that the BPN model adequately explained variable variance (MOD FIT/CFI = 0.998) and that
satisfying Basic Psychological Needs had positive and signi cant effect on resilience factors of Caregiving (Physical
and Psychological Caregiving), Individual (Personal Skills, Peer Support, and Social Skills), and Context (Spiritual,
Education and Cultural Context). The role of (BPN) was signi cant ( = 0.297, p < 0.001), ( = 0.409, p < 0.001), and
( = 0.241, p < 0.001) respectively Caregiving, Individual, and Context, factors were high (0.711, 0.706, and 0.80)
respectively, which in turn indicated that (BPN) plays strong role in explaining the variance of Caregiving, Individual,
and Context factors. Based on these  ndings, (SDT) can predict Resilience factors in case of satisfying (BPN). Findings
of the study support that educational and family practices focusing on satisfying psychological needs are related to
childhood resilience in the face of adversity.
*Corresponding Author:
Received 3
July, 2017
Accepted after revision 25
Sep, 2017
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Online Contents Available at: http//
DOI: 10.21786/bbrc/10.3/2
Shadi Khalil Abualkibash and Maria Jose Lera
Palestine is a nation in a unique geo-political situation
where violence imposed by armed forces and/or mili-
tary violence as well as with restriction of movement
through checkpoints, closures and curfews, and acts of
individual and communal threat and humiliation occur
regularly. Traumatic events such as shootings, bomb-
ings, destruction of houses, physical assaults and deaths
occur in some areas on a daily basis Rytter etal., 2006,
Abdeen et al., 2008, Soares et al., 2007, Qouta et al.,
2008a, Thabet etal., 2016, Thabet, 2015, Mousa Thabet
and Vostanis, 2017, Al-Sheikh and Thabet, 2017).
Numerous studies have noted distinct psychological
and behavioral impacts of traumatic experiences dur-
ing situations of political unrest on youth, related to
psychological health, well-being, and long term out-
comes, including increased risk of suffering from mental
health problems, such as; PTSD, insomnia, depression,
low feeling of self-ef cacy and self-esteem, anxiety and
depressive symptoms, cognitive distortions, and behav-
ioral disturbances (Worden, 1996, Saigh et al., 1995,
Chimienti et al., 1989, Foa et al., 1999, Baker, 1990,
Stubbs and Soroya, 1996, Garbarino and Kostelny, 1993,
Moro etal., 1998, Clarke etal., 1993).
It has also been demonstrated that youth in pro-
tracted con ict zones exhibit increased dif culties in
social relationships, fear of the dark, phobias, bedwet-
ting, social withdrawal, negative social-interaction,
aggressive behavior, insecure attachment, forgetfulness,
somatic disorders and psychosocial behavioral prob-
lems, fear, anger, sadness, humiliation, guilt, nightmares
and emotional disregulation (Giaconia et al., 1995,
Punamäki, 1997, Foa etal., 1999, Vila etal., 1999, Qouta
et al., 2008b), as well as academic challenges such as
low grades, concentration dif culties, and truancy from
school (Qouta and El-Sarraj, 2004, Kanninen etal., 2003,
Thabet and Vostanis, 2000, Altawil, 2008). These indica-
tors reveal how dif cult it is for children residing in high
con ict zones, such as Palestine, to have a normal devel-
opmental trajectory and the high risk for negative lifes-
pan risks related to childhood trauma. Given the high
number or young people exposed to traumatic events in
Palestine, it is necessary for individual, community, and
national well-being and progress to identify protective
factors to reduce the potentially negative impacts of this
currently inevitable exposure to violence (Hobfoll etal.,
2011, Nguyen-Gillham etal., 2008, Thabet and Thabet,
2015a, Thabet and Thabet, 2015b).
Deci and Ryan (2000) Proposes that the relationship
between the social contextual environment and people’s
well-being is critical for positive human development
in Self-Determination Theory (SDT). Self-Determination
Theory is based on the tenant that the ful llment of three
Basic Psychological Needs (BPN) including autonomy,
competence and relatedness, is essential for positive
functioning and when these basic psychological needs
are ful lled, optimal psychological well-being should
occur (Gunnell etal., 2013). Ryan and Deci (2000) argue
that satisfaction of the (BPN) for autonomy, competence,
and relatedness improves well-being, and strengthens
inner resources related to resilience, whereas frustration
in these three areas increased vulnerability for defense
mechanisms and psychopathology (Weinstein and Ryan,
2011, Vansteenkiste and Ryan, 2013). Weinstein and
Ryan (2011), proposed that psychological need satisfac-
tion acts as a buffer in times of stress, reducing both ini-
tial appraisals of stress and encouraging adaptive coping
after stress-related events occur.
The model of motivational resilience used in this
study is based on Self-Determination Theory (SDT) (Deci
and Ryan, 1985), and organized around the assumption
that all individuals aim to satisfy the basic psychologi-
cal needs of competence, relatedness, and autonomy.
According to this perspective, humans inherently seek to
explore opportunities to satisfy these needs. Individuals
feel energized and joyful during interactions in which
their needs are satis ed, and frustrated when they are
thwarted. Based on their history of experiences in par-
ticular situations, people construct views of themselves
and the world in relation to these needs. Over time, these
expectations come to shape their participation in their
environment (Skinner etal., 2014).
The construct of resilience has been broadened from
those experiencing severe environmental disruption to
include the general population with everyday stressors
and dif culties (Timmerman, 2014, Martin and Marsh,
2008). Resilience is intricately related to behavioral
autonomy, self-realization, self-regulation, and psy-
chological empowerment (Weston and Parkin, 2010).
Resilient individuals exhibit behavioral autonomy in
taking responsibility for their actions. Individuals who
are resilient are most likely to possess high levels of
self-realization and self-ef cacy (Timmerman, 2014).
Moreover, resilient individuals do not shy away from
challenging tasks but exert even more effort, use more
effective strategies, and approach dif cult tasks with
persistence. Resilient individuals self-regulate by plan-
ning for and setting goals and consequently monitoring
their progress toward these goals. People who exhibit
self-realization are aware of their strengths and abili-
ties, re ect upon their past successes with challenging
events, develop self-ef cacious beliefs in their abili-
ties, and demonstrate greater capacities for responding
to future events with resilience (Timmerman, 2014). In
addition, research shows a strong association between
psychological empowerment and resilience (Pines etal.,
Shadi Khalil Abualkibash and Maria Jose Lera
Numerous scholars have noted the bond between
resilience and self-determination. Spreitzer (1995) stated
that, persons who are empowered or self-determined
demonstrate greater resilience. Empowered individuals
display resilience, self-determination, power, control,
ability, competence, self-ef cacy, autonomy, knowledge,
and development (Uner and Turan, 2010).
Based on the previous research, the satisfaction of
basic psychological needs, facilitated by supportive
social contexts, appears to foster both a sense of well-
ness and leads to the building of inner resources that
underlie subsequently demonstrated resilience.
The current study was designed to explore the asso-
ciation between factors of resilience factors and the sat-
isfaction of Basic Psychological Needs among Palestin-
ian youth in West-Bank Directorates by using structural
equation modeling including:
- The association between (BPN) and Resilience
The sample consisted of 537 Palestinian public school
student’s 13 and 14 years old living in the West Bank
(OPT Occupied Palestinian Territories). They were 55%
girls and 45% boys. About two thirds (64%) were from
rural areas and (36%) from urban areas. For the study,
25 schools were randomly selected as representative of
schools in the North directorate of the West Bank. At
each school 10 students from 8th grade and 10 students
from 9th grade, were randomly selected. The High Min-
istry of Education provided the permission to access the
public schools, and then researcher informed the pupils,
their parents, and headmaster about the purpose of
study, obtaining their verbal consent for participation.
The Child and Youth Resilience Measure [CYRM]
(Liebenberg etal., 2012) is a comprehensive instrument
composed of three sub-scales, which re ect the major
categories of resilience. The  rst sub-scale is “Individual
Factors” that included personal skills (5 items), peer sup-
port (2 items) and social skills (4 items). The second sub-
scale is labeled “Family Support”, as re ected in physi-
cal/material support (2 items) as well as psychological
care giving (5 items). The third sub- scale is “Contextual
Components” which are environmental characteristics
that facilitate a sense of belonging in youth, including
spirituality (3 items), culture (5 items), and education (2
items). All responses were measured on a Likert Scale
from 1 to 5 (1 = “never” and 5 = “always”), (Liebenberg
etal., 2012). The Cronbach alpha coef cients were cal-
culated for each dimension in the CYRM-28, (individual
factors, family support, and contextual components)
0.80, 0.78 and 0.84 respectively. Cronbach’s alpha for
the total scale (28 items) was 0.92.
The (BPN) Scale-General Version contains 21 items
and is adapted from the (BPN) -work version (Ilardi
etal., 1993). Responses for all items were indicated on a
Likert Scale from 1 (not true at all) to 7 (de nitely true)
(Ryan and Deci, 2000). The instrument includes three
sub-scale scores, measuring the degree to which the per-
son experiences satisfaction of each of the three needs.
Structural equation modeling (SEM) using Analysis of
Moment Structure (AMOS) (SPSS Version 21) was used
to analyze the data. Con rmatory Factor Analysis [CFA]
and Path Analysis were used to test psychological resil-
ience related to the factors of individual characteristics,
caregiving, contextual components and the Basic Psy-
chological Needs related to autonomy, competence, and
relatedness. This study anticipated a positive path from
(BPN) to factors of Psychological Resilience (Clauss-
Ehlers, 2008, Pines etal., 2012, Ruban etal., 2003, Deci
and Ryan, 2000, Skinner et al., 2014, Spreitzer, 1995,
Timmerman, 2014, Uner and Turan, 2010, Wehmeyer,
1996, Weston and Parkin, 2010, Tuckman, 2003).
Figure 1, shows the proposed model:
: There is positive path from (BPN) to factors indi-
cating Psychological Resilience including individual
characteristics, caregiving, and context. (See Figure1).
Table 1. Demographic Characteristics for the Participants
Demographic variables
(n = 537)
Frequencies (Valid Percentage
n = 537)
Males 242 45
Females 295 55
13 268 50
14 269 50
Place of residence
City 196 34
Village 341 66
Shadi Khalil Abualkibash and Maria Jose Lera
FIGURE 1. Theoretical model psychological resilience factors and its relationship with satisfaction of BPNS among
the Palestinian basic school students in West-Bank.
The researchers computed means and SD for (BPN) and
its domains (Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness)
and for Resilience and its subscales (Individual Charac-
teristics, Caregiving, and Context), (see table 2).
The results indicate that factor loadings were higher
than .50, ranging from 0.66 to 0.7 for the (BPN), and
higher for the Resilience components from 0.73 to 0.86,
At the construct level, the results demonstrate that the
reliabilities of all of the constructs ranged from 0.70 to
0.86 (higher than the recommended cut-off of 0.70 for
this measure).
The present study utilizes SEM to test the hypothesized
model regarding the relationship between the compo-
nent variables of (BPN) and Resilience factors including:
Individual Characteristics, Caregiving, and Context. The
model predicts a positive path from (BPN) to Individ-
ual Characteristics, Caregiving, and Context, (the pre-
identi ed components of resilience). Table 4 presents the
data on statistical  t for the hypothesized model, using
standardized paths coef cients (Beta), and the estimate
of variance explained (R
value was 8.489 (d.f. = 6, p = 0.204). Therefore,
the relative
was (CMIN/df = 1.415). The RMSEA esti-
mate of 0.028 provided support for the general model.
Bentler’s CFI was 0.998 indicating that the proposed
model  t the data according to this index.
Table 2. Means and standard deviations of total
resilience and resilience factors of children (N = 537)
Descriptive Statistics
Constructs Mean Std. Deviation N
BPNS 5.1485 .68308 537
Autonomy 4.9327 .90893 537
Competence 5.0636 .83385 537
Relatedness 5.4493 .80478 537
RESILIENCE 3.7956 .67234 537
Individual Factors 3.4708 .62142 537
Caregiving Factors 4.0093 .81419 537
Context Factors 3.9067 .79080 537
Table 3. Standardized Path Coef cient and P value
Parameter Description
Standardized Path
Coef cient () P Value
Relatedness from BPNS 0.666** 0.000
Competence from BPNS 0.640* 0.000
Autonomy from BPNS 0.749** 0.000
Context from Resilience 0.861** 0.000
Individual from Resilience 0.734** 0.000
Caregiving from Resilience 0.789** 0.000
Shadi Khalil Abualkibash and Maria Jose Lera
The goodness of  t index (GFI), adjusted GFI (AGFI),
and Normed  t index (NFI) for the measure were 0.995,
0.982, and 0.994 respectively; demonstrating general  t.
Path coef cients from (BPN) to INDIVIDUAL, CAREGIV-
ING, and CONTEXT as well as total Resilience were sig-
ni cant (see Table 4 and 5).
As shown in table 4 and 5, the standardized path
coef cient of caregiving factors from (BPN) was signi -
cant ( = 0.297, p < 0.001), R
(0.711), indicating that
(BPN) plays a strong role in explaining the variance of
Perditions from Individual Characteristics to (BPN) it
was signi cant ( = 0.409, p < 0.001), R
for individual
factors was high (0.706), which in turn indicated that
(BPN) plays strong role in explaining the variance of
individual factors; (Individual Personal Skills, Individual
Peer Support, and Individual Social Skills).
The variability of Context factors explained by (BPN)
it was signi cant ( = 0.241, p < 0.001). R
(0.80), which
in turn indicated that (BPN) plays strong role in explain-
ing the variance of context factors.
To conclude,  gure 2 shows SEM for Resilience fac-
tors and their relationship with satisfaction of (BPN).
As shown in the pervious model and tables 4 and 5,
the results revealed that basic psychological needs were
signi cantly and positively associated with the fac-
tors of resilience; (individual, caregiving, and context)
among the participants.
The study aimed to explore whether the satisfaction of
basic psychological needs (BPN) affected resilience fac-
tors, in a sample of middle-school students living under
situations of geo-political adversity, in Palestine.
Results of the current investigation revealed that the
general level of Resilience and (BPN) measures in the
sample was high. Additionally, the results revealed that
there is signi cant relationship between (BPN) and the
selected factors of Resilience (individual characteristics
caregiving, and context), especially between BPN and
Individual Characteristics.
The results demonstrate that satisfying basic psycho-
logical needs of youth in high con ict environments, has
positive effect on resilience and well-being. By review-
ing these results it can be supposed that satisfying basic
psychological needs positively predicts resilience which
is consistent with the explanation offered under self-
determination theory (Baard etal., 2004) in which they
propose that satisfying basic psychological needs, has a
positive effect on resilience and well-being.
Additionally the results of this study are consistent
with previous  ndings that explored (Baard etal., 2004,
Deci and Ryan, 2000, Kaydkhorde, 2014), relationships
between the children and their families and environ-
mental context as supporting and contributing to sat-
isfaction of basic needs, leading to the facilitation of
mental adaptation, resilience and well-being.
Meeting the Basic Psychological Needs of autonomy,
competence and relatedness provide essential condi-
tions for positive development and growth, consistency
and well-being, (Deci etal., 2001), and may determine a
large variance in behavioral functioning (Deci and Ryan,
2017, Sheldon etal., 1996) (Deci and Ryan, 2017).
Table 4. Model Fit Indices and Recommended Values
for SEM Analysis (Kline, 2005)
Model Fit Index
Model Fit
CMIN (Chi-square p value) 0.204 > .05
CMIN /df 1.145 ≤ 3
CFI 0.998 .90
GFI 0.995 .90
AGFI 0.982 .90
NFI 0.994 .90
RMSEA 0.028 .05
Table 5. Model Fit Indices, Recommended Values for SEM Analysis, and the Observed Values for the Proposed Model
Model Fit
Values Parameter Description
Standardized Path
Coef cient () P Value R2
Chi-square value 8.489 Relatedness from BPNS 0.666** 0.000 CAREGIVING = 0.711
d.f. 6 Competence from BPNS 0.640* 0.000 INDIVIDUAL = 0.706
CMIN (p value) 0.204 Autonomy from BPNS 0.749** 0.000 CONTEXT= 0.800
CMIN /df 1.145 Context from Resilience 0.861** 0.000 AUTONOMY = 0.561
CFI 0.998 Individual from Resilience 0.734** 0.000 COMPETENCE = 0.409
GFI 0.995 Caregiving from Resilience 0.789** 0.000 RELATEDNESS = 0.443
AGFI 0.982 Caregiving from BPNS 0.297** 0.000
NFI 0.994 Individual from BPNS 0.409** 0.000
RMSEA 0.028 Context from BPNS 0.241** 0.000
Shadi Khalil Abualkibash and Maria Jose Lera
In conclusion, Self-Determination Theory (SDT) is
organized around the satisfaction of three basic psy-
chological needs (BPN) including autonomy, compe-
tence, and relatedness. Students’ histories of experiences
with family, school, and the community; including their
interactions with parents, teachers, and peers who sup-
port or undermine their needs, cumulatively shape their
academic identities, or their personal convictions about
whether they truly belong (relatedness), have what it
takes to succeed (competence), and genuinely endorse
the goals and values of schooling (autonomy) Cleary
de ne their resilience, especially in adversive environ-
ments. These self-system processes, along with the nature
of the academic work students are given (i.e., whether it
is authentic, relevant, purposeful, and important) are the
proximal predictors of students’ motivational resilience
(or vulnerability), including their engagement, coping,
and re-engagement (Skinner etal., 2014).
In general, an individual with the skills and char-
acteristics of resilience paired with the traits of self-
determined behavior best prepares one to adapt to new
environments and increases the utilization of personal
responsibility to address pressures they encounter in
the environment (Timmerman, 2014). Individuals who
capably demonstrate self-determined behaviors and
resilience are better able to consistently work toward
achieving challenging goals without losing interest or
lessening their effort despite hitting a plateau or expe-
riencing outright failure on their  rst attempt (Timmer-
man, 2014).
In order to improve resilience among Palestinian
children, individual skills factors (personal skills, peer
support, and social skills), context factors (spiritually,
education and culture) and caregiving factors (physical
and psychological) fostering and building suitable edu-
cational and academic interventions may be key based
on self-determination theory and the current  ndings.
Collective interventions, either at community level or
school level may be the best way to effectively address
these issues for Palestinean youth and the full range of
the population (Rabaia etal., 2010, Pieters, 2016, Hoge
etal., 2007).
Despite demonstrating (BPN) effects, it is uncertain that
the directionality of the effects is in accordance with
the model. To further examine these hypotheses and to
provide conclusions with respect to the direction of the
effect, it is recommended that future research include
longitudinal data and school-change interventions.
Further limitations of the current investigation is
the self-report nature of the instruments utilized, it was
not possible to know exactly how the students inter-
preted the constructs and whether they viewed the con-
structs in ways that the researcher intended. While this
is a limitation of all survey self-report research of this
nature, it should be noted that the con rmatory factor
analysis did provide some support that the students were
responding as expected. Future research could overcome
this limitation by including a mixed methods approach.
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FIGURE 2. SEM for psychological resilience factors and its relationship with satisfaction of BPNS among the Palestin-
ian basic school students in West-Bank.
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