The Role of Autonomy in Promoting Healthy Dyadic, Familial, and Parenting Relationships Across Cultures

Chapter
Part of the Cross-Cultural Advancements in Positive Psychology book series (CAPP, volume 1)

Abstract

The chapter explains how autonomy, as defined in self-determination theory, facilitates closeness. Self-determination theory is fundamentally a theory of optimal relationship development and functioning. Basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness guide the motivational underpinnings of relational well-being. Autonomy, in particular, promotes openness rather than defensiveness and facilitates perspective-taking, authenticity, support of close others, and intrinsic rather than extrinsic investment in one’s relationships. Among couples, relationship autonomy and need fulfillment are associated with numerous positive relationship processes and outcomes such as more understanding and relationship-maintaining responses to conflicts and disagreements. Among families, parental autonomy support is associated with various indicators of positive internalization, self-development, and relational health and well-being. Autonomy thus seems important for healthy, optimally functioning personal relationships. Further cross-cultural research is needed. We argue that there is room for both essentialist and cultural relativist perspectives on autonomy as being necessary for optimal relational well-being.

Keywords

Parental Style Romantic Partner Psychological Control Autonomy Support Autonomous Motivation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HoustonHoustonUSA

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