The benefits of autonomy support for adolescents with severe emotional and behavioral problems
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofMotivation and emotion ; vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 688-700.
The benefits of autonomy support in the domain of education have been well established within the general population, but have yet to be demonstrated within clinical populations. The present study investigated the benefits of an autonomy-supportive interpersonal style on teenage girls’ internalization of a tedious clinical workshop and their subjective experience during this task. Participants were female teenagers placed in a social rehabilitation center for their severe emotional and behavioral problems (n = 29). An experimental design allowed comparing the impact of learning a tedious, but important workshop with or without autonomy support on internalization and experiential outcomes. Results demonstrate that autonomy support leads to higher perceived task’s value, task liking as well as less negative affect compared to a condition without autonomy-support. Participants in the autonomy-supportive condition also perceived the instructor as more competent. By uncovering benefits of autonomy support to a clinical population of adolescents, the present study supports self-determination theory’s tenet that the benefits of autonomy support are universal.