A multilevel perspective on self-determination theory: Predictors and correlates of autonomous and controlled motivation

Kayleigh Ann Clegg, Shelby L. Levine, David C. Zuroff, Anne C. Holding, Golan Shahar, Richard Koestner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Based on self-determination theory (SDT), we examined mediational models connecting autonomy support and self-criticism to negative affect (NA), positive affect (PA), and goal progress (GP) via autonomous and controlled motivation. Separate measures were obtained within eight domains (e.g., academic performance and intimate relationships) for 346 university students. Multilevel structural equation modeling was used to test whether, both between-persons and within-person, autonomy support and self-criticism predicted autonomous and controlled motivation, which in turn predicted NA, PA, and GP. In addition to several between-persons indirect effects, we found numerous significant within-person indirect effects, including: (1) in domains where they experienced greater autonomy support, people experienced greater PA and greater GP, mediated by greater autonomous motivation and (2) in domains where they experienced greater self-criticism, people experienced more NA mediated by greater controlled motivation, and less PA mediated by greater controlled motivation and lesser autonomous motivation. These results support systematically adopting a multilevel perspective in SDT research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-245
Number of pages17
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Volume47
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2023

Keywords

  • Autonomous motivation
  • Autonomy support
  • Controlled motivation
  • Multilevel structural equation modeling
  • Self-criticism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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