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.
- Authentic inner compass
- Autonomy support in adolescence
- Need for autonomy
- Parenting practices
- Teaching practices