The Authentic Inner Compass as a Well-Being Resource: Predictive Effects on Vitality, and Relations with Self-Esteem, Depression and Behavioral Self-realization

Avi Assor, Moti Benita, Yu Shi, Rima Goren, Noam Yitshaki, Qian Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper seeks to expand our knowledge on autonomy experiences predicting, or associated with, important well-being attributes, by drawing on the concept of an “Authentic Inner Compass” (AIC, Assor 2012, 2018; Vansteenkiste and Soenens 2015): Sense of knowing what is truly important to us in terms of values, aspirations, and goals. Study 1 (304 Hong Kong students; mean age = 20.3 years), showed that sense of AIC predicted increased subjective vitality and self-esteem over time. Study 2 (257 Israeli students, mean age = 16.2 years) validated a measure of the experience of behavioral self-realization, hypothesized to mediate the links between AIC and positive well-being attributes. Study 3 (307 Israeli students, mean age = 16.3 years) showed that AIC had direct links with vitality and low depression, and was also indirectly linked to depression via behavioral self-realization. This study also examined the hypothesis that the associations between AIC, and the indicators of behavioral self-realization, vitality and low depression, hold also after controlling for another, widely researched autonomy experience: psychological freedom and volition (Chen et al.’s [2015] need for autonomy scale). Results supported this hypothesis. The findings suggest that sense of AIC is associated with increased vitality and self-esteem over time. Results also suggest that sense of AIC and psychological freedom and volition are two distinct autonomy experiences that are uniquely associated with important well-being attributes. Future research may examine the benefits of supporting these two autonomy experiences in youth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3435-3455
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Volume22
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Authentic inner compass
  • Depression
  • Need for autonomy
  • Positive youth development
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-realization
  • Well-being

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