Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 159–188 | Cite as

A Meta-analysis of the Effectiveness of Intervention Programs Designed to Support Autonomy

  • Yu-Lan Su
  • Johnmarshall Reeve
Research into Practice


The twofold purpose of the present study was, first, to determine whether training intervention programs designed to help people support the autonomy of others are effective and, second, to identify the set of conditions that allowed these interventions to be most effective. A meta-analysis of the findings from 19 studies with 20 effect sizes showed that the training programs were, overall, effective with a weighted effect size of 0.63. Moderator analyses of the overall effect size showed that the relatively more effective intervention programs were structured in ways that trained multiple elements of autonomy support and were presented in relatively brief (1–3 h) sessions in a laboratory training setting that focused on skill-based activities and utilized multiple types of media to deliver its content. Furthermore, relatively effective intervention programs were offered to teachers (rather than to other professionals), trainees (rather than to experienced professionals), and individuals with an autonomy (rather than a control) causality orientation. Though the small number of included studies warrants caution, results generally affirmed the effectiveness of autonomy-supportive training programs and identified the conditions under which future programs can be designed to be highly effective.


Autonomy Autonomy support Meta-analysis Self-determination theory Intervention Training 



We express our thanks to Frank L. Schmidt for help in the interpretation of the meta-analytic results. This research was supported by the WCU (World Class University) Program founded by the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, consigned to the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (grant no. R32-2008-000-20023-0).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological and Quantitative FoundationsUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.Korea UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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