The effect of autonomous and controlled orientations on open versus defensive social functioning
Previous research in the tradition of self-determination theory showed autonomous and controlled functioning to relate to open and defensive functioning in (close) personal relationships, respectively. The present study investigates whether autonomous and controlled orientations predict general open and defensive social functioning. Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) and Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) were used as indicators of defensiveness and the empathy dimensions of perspective taking and empathic concern were used as indicators of openness. In a first, cross-sectional study, the autonomous causality orientation related positively to the openness indicators and negatively to the defensiveness indicators. The controlled causality orientation showed the opposite pattern of correlations. A longitudinal study replicated these findings, and showed that, whereas both causality orientations predicted over-time changes in SDO, for empathic perspective-taking, bidirectional cross-lagged relations were found. It is concluded that autonomous and controlled causality orientations do predict general open and defensive social functioning.
Neyrinck, B., Lens, W., Duriez, B., Vansteenkiste, M., & Soenens, B. (2009). The effect of autonomous and controlled orientations on open versus defensive social functioning. KULeuven: Internal report.