Self-Sufficiency Research - Can You Help?

What is Self-Sufficiency in a psychological sense? Is it an important factor in well-being? Help me find out by filling out this short questionnaire

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I’m Dr. Steve Taylor, a psychologist at Leeds Metropolitan University and the author of several books on psychology and spirituality. I would like to enlist the help of Psychologies readers with some research I’m doing. This is on the subject of ‘self-sufficiency’, in a psychological sense.

I don’t want to explain too much about the research, because it might affect the way you respond to the questionnaire. But it partly grew out of an article I wrote in Psychologies about three years ago, about how we can make ourselves less vulnerable to feeling disrespected by other people. We all feel ‘slighted’ from time to time. Typical slights include not being invited to a party which everyone else you know is going to; giving a person a lift or a meal and not being thanked in return; being passed over for promotion.

I began to investigate the concept of ‘self-sufficiency’ when it occurred to me that high ‘self-esteem’ can make people more vulnerable to slights. Although high self-esteem is usually seen as a positive thing, it has a negative side too. When self-esteem is fragile, it can be dangerous. One of the reasons why alcohol is so strongly linked to crime is because of its ‘self-inflating’ effect – it makes people feel more special and important, and so increases their sensitivity to slights.

This suggests to me that there is a further aspect of the self which needs to be considered, one which is implied but not fully embraced by the concepts of ‘secure’ and ‘insecure’ self-esteem. This is the concept of self-sufficiency. Self-esteem becomes secure and stable when it is underpinned by self-sufficiency.

The Questionnaire

The purpose of the research is to develop a test which measures ‘self-sufficiency’, and also to find out if self-sufficiency is linked to other factors, such as age, gender or happiness. I’ll explain more when the results of the questionnaire are in!

It’s a very simple questionnaire with around 20 short questions. It should only take you 5 minutes or so (at the most) to complete. It is completely anonymous and voluntary. No personal details are involved, and you are free to stop at any point. If you would like further information, feel free to email me

The questionnaire is here:

Thanks in advance for your help!

Dr. Steve Taylor

Psychologist and Teacher, -

Senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University, author of several books on psychology and spirituality, including Back to Sanity and Waking From Sleep. His work has been described by Eckhart Tolle as 'an important contribution to the global shift in consciousness happening on our planet.' His website is


Go to the profile of Jim Risser
over 7 years ago
I'm currently studying for my PhD in Psychology with Capella University. I was going to do my dissertation on spiritual intelligence (SQ) but have concluded that SQ is just a factor of happiness as evident by the high correlation of SQ tests to subjective well being measures. Do you agree? Thanks!
Go to the profile of Dr. Steve Taylor
over 7 years ago
Hi Jim - I don't think SQ is just a factor of happiness, although having a high SQ may be associated with happiness. I think increased happiness is really just one by product of spirituality - but spirituality is about a lot more than that e.g. connection, empathy, altruism, wonder, higher states of consciousness etc. So personally I wouldn't let that put me off doing a study on spiritual intelligence. all best, Steve