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.
KeywordsAutonomy Psychological needs Wellbeing Motivation Integration Need thwarting Conflict negotiation
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
None of the authors have any conflict of interest involving any aspect of this research.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Brehm, J. W. (1966). A theory of psychological reactance. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2013). The importance of autonomy for development and well-being. In B. W. Sokol, F. M. E. Grouzet, & U. Muller (Eds.), Self-regulation and autonomy: Social and developmental dimensions of human conduct (pp. 19–46). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hodgins, H. S., & Knee, C. R. (2002). The integrating self and conscious experience. In E. L. Deci, & R. M. Ryan (Eds.), Handbook of self-determination research (pp. 87–100). Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.Google Scholar
- Maslow, A. H. (1954). Motivation and personality. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
- Robitschek, C. (1999). Further validation of the Personal Growth Initiative Scale. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 31(4), 197–210.Google Scholar
- Rogers, C. R. (1963). The actualizing tendency in relation to “motives” and to consciousness. In M. R. Jones (Ed.), Nebraska symposium on motivation (pp. 1–24). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
- Rusbult, C. E., Yovetich, N. A., & Verette, J. (1996). An interdependence analysis of accommodation processes. In G. J. O. Fletcher & J. Fitness (Eds.), Knowledge structures in close relationships: A social psychological approach (pp. 63–90). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2003). On assimilating identities to the self: A self-determination theory perspective on internalization and integrity within cultures. In M. R. Leary, & J. P. Tangney (Eds.), Handbook on self & identity (pp. 253–274). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Ryan, R. M., Deci, E. L., Grolnick, W. S., & La Guardia, J. G. (2006). The significance of autonomy and autonomy support in psychological development and psychopathology. In D. Cicchetti & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology: Theory and method (Vol. 1, pp. 795–849). New Jersey: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Weinstein, N., Ryan, W. S., DeHaan, C. R., Przybylski, A. K., Legate, N., & Ryan, R. M. (2012b). Parental autonomy support and discrepancies between implicit and explicit sexual identities: Dynamics of self-acceptance and defense. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102, 815–832.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar