Towards a wider conception of autonomy support in adolescence: The contribution of reflective inner-compass facilitation to the formation of an authentic inner compass and well-being

Avi Assor, Bart Soenens, Noam Yitshaki, Ohad Ezra, Yael Geifman, Gilad Olshtein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ample research has demonstrated the benefits of basic autonomy supportive practices (e.g., perspective-taking, choice, minimizing-control) for adolescents’ psychosocial functioning. Herein, we posit that there is one additional autonomy supportive practice with specific importance for adolescents’ development: Reflective Authentic Inner Compass facilitation. This practice is posited to contribute to the formation of an Authentic Inner-Compass: An action-guiding schema, informing youth on what they truly value, need, and want, and consisting of two parts: (1) A foundation including authentic values, interests, and life-aspirations, and (2) Autonomous commitment to future-oriented goals and decisions, based on the foundation. A longitudinal study of 18–19 year-old Israeli adolescents showed that perceived Reflective Authentic Inner Compass Facilitation by instructors uniquely predicted (beyond Basic Autonomy Support) adolescents’ experience of having an authentic inner-compass in the military domain, which then predicted autonomous engagement in plan-promoting activities. A cross-sectional study with 16−18 year-old Belgian adolescents showed that perceived Reflective Authentic Inner Compass Facilitation by parents uniquely predicted (beyond Basic Autonomy Support) the experience of having an authentic inner-compass, which then related positively to well-being. Implications of the notion of the authentic inner compass for the conceptualization of autonomy support and the experience of autonomy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-174
Number of pages16
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Authentic inner compass
  • Autonomy support in adolescence
  • Identity-commitments
  • Need for autonomy
  • Parenting practices
  • Teaching practices

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