Benefits of autonomy support
by Richard Koestner, Theodore A. Powers, Noémie Carbonneau, Marina Milyavskaya, Sook Ning Chua
Abstract: Three studies examined the relations of autonomy support and directive support to goal progress over 3 months. Autonomy support was defined in terms of empathic perspective-taking, whereas directive support was defined in terms of the provision of positive guidance. Results from Study 1 revealed that autonomy support between romantic partners was significantly positively related to goal progress over 3 months, and that the beneficial effect of autonomy support was mediated by enhanced autonomous goal motivation. Study 2 involved female friend dyads and extended the goal progress results to include both self-reports and reports by peers. Study 3 showed that autonomy support similarly promoted progress at vicarious goals. Across three studies, autonomy support was also significantly associated with improved relationship quality and subjective well-being. Directive support was marginally associated with better goal progress across the three studies and unrelated to relationship quality or well-being.