Success Story

Our success story in Chapter 3 is Sean Conway. You can find out more about Sean on:




Studies discussed

The study of trainee surgeons to understand the impact of autonomy on learning a procedural skill: LeCompte, M., Stewart, M., Harris, T., Rives, G., Guth, C., Ehrenfeld, J., … & Terhune, K. (2019). See one, do one, teach one: a randomized controlled study evaluating the benefit of autonomy in surgical education. The American Journal of Surgery217(2), 281-287.

The swimming club in Quebec giving athletes more autonomy and lowering drop-out rates:  Mageau, G. A., & Vallerand, R. J. (2003). The coach–athlete relationship: A motivational model. Journal of sports science21(11), 883-904.

The study on the effect of autonomy within friendships: Deci, E. L., La Guardia, J. G., Moller, A. C., Scheiner, M. J., & Ryan, R. M. (2006). On the benefits of giving as well as receiving autonomy support: Mutuality in close friendships. Personality and social psychology bulletin32(3), 313-327.

The 1984 study on students with autonomy tending to experience more intrinsic motivation and higher levels of creativity: Koestner, R., Ryan, R. M., Bernieri, F., & Holt, K. (1984). Setting limits on children’s behavior: The differential effects of controlling vs. informational styles on intrinsic motivation and creativity. Journal of personality52(3), 233-248.

The study of students in autonomous environments who have a more defined view of themselves and greater awareness of their ambitions: Thornton, J. S. (2019). Athlete autonomy, supportive interpersonal environments and clinicians’ duty of care; as leaders in sport and sports medicine, the onus is on us: the clinicians. British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The study of 360 junior male football players whose parents were encouraged to follow a transformational leadership style: Álvarez, O., Castillo, I., & Moreno-Pellicer, R. (2019). Transformational parenting style, autonomy support, and their implications for adolescent athletes’ burnout. Psychosocial Intervention28(2), 91-100.

The study on business students who were asked to proofread a number of documents and then assessed on their motivation to help with the task: Freedman, S. M., & Phillips, J. S. (1985). The effects of situational performance constraints on intrinsic motivation and satisfaction: The role of perceived competence and self-determination. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes35(3), 397-416.

The experiment highlighting the impact of individual elements of feedback and support: Deci, E. L., Eghrari, H., Patrick, B. C., & Leone, D. R. (1994). Facilitating internalization: The self‐determination theory perspective. Journal of personality62(1), 119-142.

Study highlighting how autonomy can benefit performance within companies: Deci, E. L., Olafsen, A. H., & Ryan, R. M. (2017). Self-determination theory in work organizations: The state of a science. Annual review of organizational psychology and organizational behavior4, 19-43.

The psychiatric hospital study where staff were encouraged to become more autonomous: Lynch Jr, M. F., Plant, R. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2005). Psychological needs and threat to safety: Implications for staff and patients in a psychiatric hospital for youth. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice36(4), 415.

The study of 435 team and individual athletes playing within the British university system found that those who enjoyed their sport most and were most committed to it were more likely to have a coach who they felt was authentic: Bandura, C. T., & Kavussanu, M. (2018). Authentic leadership in sport: Its relationship with athletes’ enjoyment and commitment and the mediating role of autonomy and trust. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching13(6), 968-977.

The 2012 Paralympic Games experiment on Korean national team coaches use of an autonomy-supportive environment: Cheon, S. H., Reeve, J., Lee, J., & Lee, Y. (2015). Giving and receiving autonomy support in a high-stakes sport context: A field-based experiment during the 2012 London Paralympic Games. Psychology of Sport and Exercise19, 59-69.