Assisted versus asserted autonomy satisfaction: Their unique associations with wellbeing, integration of experience, and conflict negotiation
We investigate the possibility of two distinct approaches to autonomy satisfaction—one that is contextually “assisted” and one that is individually “asserted”. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses (Pilot Study and Study 1; N = 449) develop and validate the two-factor structure. We then show that asserted and assisted autonomy orientations predict psychological wellbeing through distinct pathways (i.e., highly active/agentic vs. interdependent). In Study 2 (N = 206), we examine the sociodevelopmental antecedents of each type of autonomy satisfaction, revealing that assisted autonomy is associated with having had authoritiative parents, whereas asserted autonomy is associated with having had authoritarian parents. In Study 3 (N = 109) we show that asserted—but not assisted—autonomy predicts the integration of negative life experiences. Finally, in Study 4 (N = 202), we examine the degree to which assisted and asserted autonomy moderate responses to conflict in need-thwarting contexts, showing that assisted autonomy predicts an acquiescent coping style, whereas asserted autonomy predicts an assertive negotiation style.