Abstract— Autonomy and relatedness are considered basic human needs that manifest differently in different cultural environments in response to contextual demands. This article conceptualizes 3 types of cultural environments—prototypical Western, urban, middle-class families; prototypical rural, subsistence-based farming families; and a hybrid milieu of urban middle-class families from non-Western environments—and proposes that autonomy and relatedness have different meanings in each type. In contexts in which individuals have a high degree of formal education (Western and non-Western middle-class families), there is an emphasis on inner states and mental representations. Western middle-class families focus on separate individuals; non-Western middle-class families focus on the family as a social unit. In contexts in which individuals have a low degree of formal education, there is a primary emphasis on social responsibilities. Different socialization strategies support adaptive frameworks in each of the 3 types of contexts: individual psychological autonomy in Western middle-class families, communal psychological autonomy in non-Western middle-class families, and action autonomy in subsistence-based farming families. All conceptions of autonomy and relatedness can be considered as universal competencies, yet they are differently emphasized in different cultural milieus due to differing contextual demands.