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Autonomy and Connectedness among Italian Emerging Adults: Their Relations with Psychological Well-Being

  • Autori: LO COCO, A.; Liga, F.; Lo Cricchio, M.; Inguglia, C.; Ingoglia, S.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2012
  • Tipologia: Proceedings (TIPOLOGIA NON ATTIVA)
  • Parole Chiave: autonomy, connectedness, emerging adulthood, adolescence
  • OA Link:


Emerging adulthood is a distinct period demographically, subjectively, and in terms of identity explorations characterized by profound role changes across multiple life domains (Arnett, 2001). According to many authors (Aquilino, 2006; Fingerman, 2000), autonomy and relatedness both must be fulfilled for psychological growth and well-being not only during adolescence, but may be even more necessary as an adolescent makes the transition into emerging adulthood and then into adulthood. In this perspective, the autonomous-relational self is suggested to be a healthy synthesis of autonomy and relatedness (Kagitcibasi, 1996, 2007). Given that issues of autonomy and connectedness appear to be major themes of the parent-child relationship during emerging adulthood, it would be important to examine how these dimensions are associated with parental practices and individual well-being during this period of transition. The general purpose of the present study was to explore using a cultural perspective, the dimensions of autonomy, relatedness and autonomous-related self among Italian emerging adults. Particularly, the first goal was to examine age and gender differences in these dimensions; the second goal was to investigate their associations with parental support of autonomy and relatedness; the third goal was to investigate their associations with psychological well-being. Participants were 181 Italian 18 to 25 year olds (M = 35%; mean age = 21. 35, SD = 2.12). Autonomy, relatedness and autonomous-related self were assessed with the Autonomous and Related Self-Construal Scale (Kagitcibasi, 2007); perceived parental support of autonomy and connectedness was measured with the Autonomy Competence-Relatedness Scale (Chirkov & Ryan, 2001); psychological well-being was measured with the Psychological Well-Being Scale (Ryff, 1989). First, results showed both gender and age differences: (a) females tended to report higher levels of connectedness and autonomous-related self than males; (b) older emerging adults tended to be more autonomous-related than younger ones. Secondly, autonomy was positively related to parental support of autonomy and negatively related to parental support of connectedness, while relatedness was positively associated with parental support of connectedness. Finally, autonomy, relatedness and autonomous-related self were differently associated with various domains of psychological well-being: (a) connectedness resulted positively associated with purpose in life; (b) autonomous-related self was positively associated with self-acceptance, personal growth and environmental mastery; and (c) autonomy was unrelated to psychological well-being. The results are discussed in terms of the adaptive value of parenting practices associated with supporting autonomy and connectedness in the Italian cultural context during the developmental stage of emerging adulthood.