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Causality Orientations and Psychological Well-Being in Young European and Eurasian Adults

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Abstract

We sought to bridge the gap in the literature between general causality orientations and psychological well-being by examining the relationship between these variables in a sample of 76 (18 men and 58 women) currently enrolled or recently graduated European and Eurasian university students between 18 and 35 years old. Participants were administered the General Causality Orientations Scale, Satisfaction With Life Scale, and Subjective Vitality Scale. General causality orientations differed in magnitude, with autonomy orientation being most prominent and impersonal orientation the least pervasive. Women were more inclined toward autonomy orientation than were men. Measures of hedonic (life satisfaction) and eudaimonic (vitality) well-being had a moderate, positive correlation. Although general causality orientations did not predict life satisfaction, income along with impersonal and controlled causality orientations predicted vitality. We situate these findings within self-determination theory and research, the demographics of the sample, and the larger social and cultural contexts from which the sample was drawn.
Causality Orientations and Psychological Well-Being in Young
European and Eurasian Adults
Michael J. Stevens
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Petru-Madalin Constantinescu
University of Bucharest
Hasan Ugur
Fatih University Iuliana Constantinescu
The Lucian Blaga University
We sought to bridge the gap in the literature between general causality orientations and
psychological well-being by examining the relationship between these variables in a
sample of 76 (18 men and 58 women) currently enrolled or recently graduated
European and Eurasian university students between 18 and 35 years old. Participants
were administered the General Causality Orientations Scale, Satisfaction With Life
Scale, and Subjective Vitality Scale. General causality orientations differed in magni-
tude, with autonomy orientation being most prominent and impersonal orientation the
least pervasive. Women were more inclined toward autonomy orientation than were
men. Measures of hedonic (life satisfaction) and eudaimonic (vitality) well-being had
a moderate, positive correlation. Although general causality orientations did not predict
life satisfaction, income along with impersonal and controlled causality orientations
predicted vitality. We situate these findings within self-determination theory and
research, the demographics of the sample, and the larger social and cultural contexts
from which the sample was drawn.
Keywords: causality orientations, eudaimonia, psychological well-being, self-determination theory
Self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci,
2000) has long focused on determinants of psy-
chological well-being. Early research under-
scored the role of intrinsic and self-concordant
forms of extrinsic motivation in the autonomous
pursuit of goals and activities (Deci & Ryan,
1985,1991;Ryan, Huta, & Deci, 2008;Ryan &
Deci, 2001). Subsequent research on self-
determination theory identified three universal
human needs whose gratification yields optimal
outcomes, including psychological well-being
(Deci & Ryan, 1991,2000;Ryan & Deci, 2000,
2001;Ryan et al., 2008;Sheldon & Kasser,
2001). These needs are autonomy, competence,
and relatedness. The relationship between these
needs and psychological well-being was then
examined in terms of the self-enhancing or self-
limiting impact on well-being of intrinsic and
extrinsic aspirations, respectively (Ryan et al.,
2008). In the current study, we were interested
in investigating the relationship general causal-
ity orientations, defined as enduring personal
characteristics that express individual differ-
ences the perceptions of what directs and sus-
tains behavior (Deci & Ryan, 1985,1991,
2000), and psychological well-being.
Causality Orientations
A key element of self-determination is the
implicit or explicit perceptions held by individ-
uals about the sources of their (a)motivation to
initiate and regulate action. Self-determination
This article was published Online First December 8,
2014.
Michael J. Stevens, International Psychology Program,
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology; Petru-
Madalin Constantinescu, School of Psychological and Ed-
ucational Sciences, University of Bucharest; Hasan Ugur,
Department of Educational Sciences, Fatih University; Iu-
liana Constantinescu, School of Social and Human Sci-
ences, The Lucian Blaga University.
Correspondence concerning this article should be ad-
dressed to Michael J. Stevens, The Chicago School of
Professional Psychology, 325 North Wells, Chicago, IL
60654. E-mail: michaelstevens@thechicagoschool.edu
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International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation © 2014 American Psychological Association
2015, Vol. 4, No. 1, 37–50 2157-3883/15/$12.00 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ipp0000028
37
theory construes these perceptions as enduring
and pervasive causality orientations (Deci &
Ryan, 1985,1991,2000). Causality orientations
reflect either a self-determined internal locus of
causality or an environmentally determined or
introjected (e.g., I should do this) external locus
of causality, respectively (Deci & Ryan, 1985,
1991,2000;Kasser & Ryan, 1996). Actions that
have an internal locus of causality, or a high
level of experienced volition (i.e., self-
determination), are called autonomous, and tend
to be associated with the pursuit of intrinsic
aspirations and freely chosen and valued extrin-
sic goals. Actions having an external locus of
causality, or are typically experienced as im-
posed by environmental and/or introjected de-
mands, are said to be controlled, and are likely
to manifest in compliance with real or imagined
expectations (Deci & Ryan, 1985,1991). There
is also a third causality orientation characterized
by a lack of motivation (i.e., passive disengage-
ment) that has been labeled impersonal, and
reflects the self-perception that actions are nei-
ther under volitional nor environmental control
because they are seen as exceeding personal
competencies or as having no effect on the
outcomes.
According to Deci and Ryan (1985,1991),
each individual possesses broad and stable au-
tonomous, controlled, and impersonal causality
orientations to varying degrees. This perspec-
tive on the perceived causal determinants of
(in)action emerged from research which chal-
lenged the widely held view that each person
can be assigned to a single, mutually exclusive
causality orientation (Ryan & Deci, 2001;Wa-
terman, 2008). The General Causality Orienta-
tions Scale (Deci & Ryan, 1985) measures auton-
omy, controlled, and impersonal orientations, the
magnitude of which is hypothesized to produce
substantively distinct forms of affective, cogni-
tive, and behavioral responding that yield dif-
ferent adaptational outcomes, including psycho-
logical well-being. Based on the premise that
most individuals are inclined to freely pursue
intrinsic and internalized and valued extrinsic
aspirations, our first research question examined
whether autonomy, controlled, and impersonal
causality orientations would differ in magnitude
for young European and Eurasian adults, a pop-
ulation that research on self-determination the-
ory has not studied extensively.
Few studies have examined gender differ-
ences in general causality orientations. Admin-
istering the General Causality Orientations
Scale to undergraduates, Deci and Ryan (1985)
found that women were more autonomous than
men, whereas men leaned more than women
toward controlled orientation. These findings
were duplicated in a sample of French-Canadian
undergraduates (Vallerand, Blais, Lacouture, &
Deci, 1987), and partially replicated with U.S.
high schoolers (Wong, 2000) and Belgian un-
dergraduates (Soenens, Berzonsky, Vansteenk-
iste, Beyers, & Goossens, 2005), with females
reporting higher autonomy orientation than
males. The sparse research on gender differ-
ences in general causality orientations suggests
that women tend to display a more self-
determined motivational profile than do men.
The findings suggest that traditional gender role
distinctions in the organizing principles that
guide men and women in negotiating everyday
tasks may be changing. Our second research
question, then, concerned whether young Euro-
pean and Eurasian adults would report a simi-
larly gendered pattern in causality orientations
given the global impact of feminism and mod-
ernization (Inglehart & Baker, 2000). Widening
the effort to identify a gendered pattern of cau-
sality orientations would also lay the ground-
work for follow-up research on whether and
how causality orientations manifest differently
and have different consequences and implica-
tions for young European and Eurasian men and
women.
Psychological Well-Being
As mentioned at the outset, the current study
examined the relationship of general causality
orientations to psychological well-being. The
conceptual and empirical literature distin-
guishes two forms of psychological well-being:
hedonic and eudaimonic (Huta, 2013a,2013b;
Huta & Ryan, 2010;Ryan & Deci, 2001). He-
donia and eudaimonia have been variously de-
fined as motivated behavior, a subjective feel-
ing, or accomplishments and other outcomes
(Huta, 2013a,2013b). Detailing the breadth of
these definitions, however, is beyond the scope
of this article. Instead, we highlight how self-
determination theory, particularly the perspec-
tive of Ryan and Deci (2000,2001), views these
constructs. As a trait construct, hedonia empha-
38 STEVENS, CONSTANTINESCU, UGUR, AND CONSTANTINESCU
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sizes the comfort and pleasure that individuals
are motivated to seek in their lives (Huta,
2013b;Ryan & Deci, 2001;Ryan et al., 2008).
Unlike eudiamonia, self-determination theory
posits that hedonia is linked to a relatively nar-
row and time-limited set of well-being out-
comes (Ryan et al., 2008). Hedonic experience
has typically been measured in terms of subjec-
tive well-being, whose constituent elements in-
clude the global evaluation of life satisfaction
and the balance between positive and negative
affect (Ryan & Deci, 2001).
Eudaimonia emerged from prior empirical
studies as a central construct in self-determina-
tion theory (Ryan et al., 2008). It refers to “a
way of living that is focused on what is intrin-
sically worthwhile to human beings” (Ryan et
al., 2008, p. 147), that is, the ingredients and
process of living well. Eudaimonia incorporates
the awareness and valuing of intrinsic and in-
ternalized extrinsic goals, volitional and self-
concordant choices, and affect, cognition, and
behavior directed at fulfilling the universal hu-
man needs for autonomy competence, and re-
latedness (Deci & Ryan, 2000;Ryan & Deci,
2000,2001). When defined as living well, eu-
daimonia provides a framework for examining
the relationship of general causality orientations
to psychological well-being. Both eudaimonia
and general causality orientations address estab-
lished action tendencies that can produce differ-
ent adaptational outcomes. Self-determination
theory specifically posits that autonomy orien-
tation is a key determinant of psychological
well-being (Huta, 2013a,2013b;Ryan & Deci,
2000,2001).
As mentioned, the outcomes of hedonic ful-
fillment include conceptually consistent indi-
cants, such as positive affect and life satisfac-
tion. Outcomes of eudaimonia have also been
measured by life satisfaction along with other
indices of living well, including vitality (Ryan
& Deci, 2001), an important indicant of psycho-
logical well-being in research on self-determi-
nation theory. Vitality taps the experience of
energy needed to engage fully in life pursuits
(Ryan et al., 1999;Ryan & Frederick, 1997). A
number of studies have found a positive rela-
tionship between life satisfaction and vitality
when used to measure well-being in research on
hedonia and eudaimonia (Huta & Ryan, 2010;
Ryan & Deci, 2001;Ryan & Frederick, 1997;
Waterman, 2008). Not only do these findings
suggest that life satisfaction and vitality are
overlapping constructs, but also that they mea-
sure benefits common to hedonia and eudaimo-
nia (Huta, 2013a). For example, Huta (2013b)
conjectured that hedonia enhances vitality be-
cause pleasure-seeking may replenish energy
reserves, whereas eudaimonia may promote vi-
tality because living well requires active en-
gagement. Replications with diverse samples of
the relationship between life satisfaction and
vitality as outcomes in research on self-
determination theory would support calls for a
more integrative approach to understanding
psychological well-being (Henderson & Knight,
2012;Huta & Ryan, 2010;Wong, 2011). Our
third research question inquired about the rela-
tionship between life satisfaction and vitality in
young European and Eurasian adults.
Causality Orientations in Relation to
Psychological Well-Being
To recap, eudaimonia, or living well, is a key
construct of self-determination theory. Psycho-
logical well-being is one outcome of eudaimo-
nia, and is tied to the satisfaction of fundamen-
tal human needs for autonomy, competence,
and relatedness through the pursuit and fulfill-
ment of consciously chosen intrinsic and/or in-
ternalized and valued (i.e., self-concordant) ex-
trinsic aspirations (Deci & Ryan, 1991,2000;
Ryan & Deci, 2000,2001;Ryan et al., 2008).
Within self-determination theory, general cau-
sality orientations and eudaimonia share the
view that certain broad and enduring action
tendencies contribute to psychological well-
being (Deci & Ryan, 1985,1991,2000;Huta,
2013a,2013b;Ryan & Deci, 2000,2001). For
example, Deci and Ryan (1985) found that au-
tonomy orientation was linked to self-actualiz-
ing tendencies and maturity in personality.
However, the relationship of general causality
orientations to psychological well-being has re-
ceived relatively little attention outside of the
United States, although variants of autonomy
orientation have consistently predicted psycho-
logical well-being in cross-national research
(Chirkov, 2009;Deci et al., 2001;Ryan,
Chirkov, Little, Sheldon, Timoshina, & Deci,
1999;Ryan & Deci, 2001). In a related study
that extended earlier research (e.g., Schmuck,
Kasser, & Ryan, 2000), Stevens, Constanti-
nescu, and Butucescu (2011) found that intrin-
39CAUSALITY ORIENTATIONS AND WELL-BEING
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sic aspirations for personal growth, often an
expression of autonomy orientation (Deci &
Ryan, 1985,1991), were related to psycholog-
ical well-being in U.S. and Romanian university
students. Stevens et al. also found that extrinsic
aspirations predicted well-being for Romanian
students when they function as a pathway to life
satisfaction. However, Stevens et al. did not
assess the degree to which extrinsic aspirations
were experienced as self-concordant. Therefore,
it remains unclear whether extrinsic aspirations
per se and, more importantly, general causality
orientations other than autonomy can produce
psychological well-being in certain social and
cultural contexts (see Ryan & Deci, 2001 on the
antecedents of well-being). In a bibliographic
review, Eiroa Orosa (2013) reported that locus
of control, perceived control, and self-efficacy
beliefs, which are conceptually related to auton-
omy orientation, only partially explained the
impact of macrosocial changes and psycholog-
ical well-being in Central and Eastern European
countries. Our fourth research question centered
on the relationship of autonomy, controlled, and
impersonal causality orientations to psycholog-
ical well-being in an understudied group: young
European and Eurasian adults.
The Current Study
The main purpose of our study was to bridge
the conceptual and empirical gap in the litera-
ture between general causality orientations and
psychological well-being. We also wanted to
examine the relationship of general causality
orientations and psychological well-being in a
sample of young adults from Europe and Eur-
asia where there have been few studies of these
and other constructs germane to self-determina-
tion theory (e.g., Chirkov, 2009;Deci et al.,
2001;Ryan et al., 1999;Stevens et al., 2011).
Because “it is impossible to understand the
good life apart from various contextual factors”
(Wong, 2011, p. 77), we were interested in the
sources of psychological well-being in young
European and Eurasian adults (Ryan & Deci,
2001). Although gratification of core human
needs appears to promote psychological well-
being throughout life, the manifestation and ful-
fillment of these needs depend on age-related
life challenges and affordances (Ryan & La
Guardia, 2000). A recent study of the hopes and
fears of this cohort from EU countries identified
education, employment, and social equality as
central to well-being and underscored wide-
spread uncertainty about the future (TNS
Qual, 2011).
We specifically hypothesized the following:
1. Autonomy (self-determined choice and in-
ternally regulated functioning) would be
the strongest causality orientation, imper-
sonal (passive disengagement) the weak-
est, and controlled (pressured choice and
externally regulated functioning) moder-
ately prominent;
2. women would show stronger autonomy
orientation than would men;
3. life satisfaction and vitality, the psycho-
logical well-being outcomes in our study,
would be moderately and positively cor-
related; and
4. higher autonomy, lower impersonal, and
lower controlled causality orientations
would predict life satisfaction and vitality.
Method
This research was conducted in keeping with
the Deontological Code of the Romanian Col-
lege of Psychologists and Law 213/2004, both
of which delineate principles and standards for
the ethical conduct of psychological research.
Consent was implicitly obtained based on
whether a person voluntarily chose to complete
the measures online.
Participants
Participants were a convenience sample of
undergraduate, postgraduate, and recently grad-
uated university students from seven countries
in Europe and Eurasia. Although not represen-
tative of the region’s population, we believed
that well-educated, cosmopolitan young adults
would be interested in and capable of respond-
ing insightfully to measures of general causality
orientations and psychological well-being.
Given their age, we also believed that this group
would be keenly aware of personal challenges
related to career goals, family plans, and life-
style values (Ryan & Deci, 2001;Ryan & La
Guardia, 2000) in the context of prevailing eco-
nomic, political, and social conditions (TNS
Qual, 2011).
Once collected, data were checked for miss-
ing values, univariate and multivariate outliers,
40 STEVENS, CONSTANTINESCU, UGUR, AND CONSTANTINESCU
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and normality of distributions. Missing values
were spread randomly across two scales (Lit-
tle’s MACR:
2
⫽⫺0.759, p.05) within 12
cases and replaced using expectation maximi-
zation (Schlomer, Bauman, & Card, 2010). We
then cleaned the data of outlier responses.
1
We
inspected all scale and subscale scores using a
normal probability (Q-Q) plot comparison func-
tion and identified 19 outliers whose values
appeared extreme. From this pool, we removed
three multivariate outliers (p.001 for Ma-
halanobis’ D
2
). We then performed Shapiro-
Wilk tests which showed that the data met the
assumptions of normality. For General Causal-
ity Orientation–Autonomy, W0.972, p
.05; for General Causality Orientation–Imper-
sonal, W0.985, p.05; for General Cau-
sality Orientation–Controlled, W0.985, p
.05; and for the Subjective Vitality Scale, W
0.973, p.05). No adjustments were made
based on responses to the Satisfaction With Life
Scale. We also eliminated data from partici-
pants whose self-reported proficiency in written
English was poor or fair, and who identified
their nationality as from outside Europe and
Eurasia.
The resulting sample (N76) consisted of
18 men (23.7%) and 58 women (76.3%), be-
tween 18 and 35 years old (M25.09, SD
5.22), with a monthly income between $0 and
$2,927 USD (Mdn $320 USD). Seventeen
were married or engaged (22.4%), 58 were
never married or engaged (76.3%), and 1 was
divorced or widowed (1.3%). Twelve had chil-
dren (15.8%) and 64 were childless (84.2%).
The sample was 69.7% Romanian (n53),
18.4% Turkish (n14), 5.3% German (n4),
3.9% Albanian (n3), 1.3% Estonian (n1),
and 1.3% Polish (n1). Seventy-three were
postgraduate students (96.1%), with 1 (1.3%)
undergraduate and 2 (2.6%) recently graduated
students. The range of self-reported proficiency
in written English was as follows: moderate
7.9% (n6), good 28.9% (n22), and very
good 63.2% (n48). Given the large number
of Romanian participants, we were concerned
about the possibility that our sample was cul-
turally biased. ttests comparing responses of
Romanian participants with those from other
nationalities on measures of general causality
orientation and psychological well-being were
not statistically significant (see Table 1).
Measures
We measured general causality orientations,
life satisfaction, and vitality with the General
Causality Orientations Scale (Deci & Ryan,
1985), Satisfaction With Life Scale (Diener,
Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985), and Subjec-
tive Vitality Scale (Ryan & Frederick, 1997),
respectively. We also devised a background
questionnaire. All measures were in English.
General Causality Orientations Scale
(GCOS). The GCOS (Deci & Ryan, 1985)
measures three enduring and pervasive ways in
which individuals explain the source of their
affective, cognitive, and behavioral tendencies
that in turn guide and regulate their responses.
Autonomy orientation (GCOSA) is related to
intrinsic motivation, and reflects the respon-
dent’s receptiveness to conditions and experi-
ences that offer opportunities to exert personal
agency. High autonomy includes self-initiation,
enjoyment of challenges, and taking personal
responsibility. Impersonal orientation (GCOSI)
refers to the absence of motivation stemming
from the belief that goal attainment exceeds the
respondent’s capability and/or expectations that
actions do not reliably lead to outcomes. High
impersonal orientation is linked to low self-
efficacy, passive disengagement, and a prefer-
ence for sameness. Controlled orientation
(GCOSC) is tied to extrinsic motivation, and
reflects responsiveness to environmental and/or
introjected imperatives, tangible rewards, and
structure. High controlled orientation entails be-
ing attentive to expectations and demands and
sensitive to incentives like money and status.
GCOSA, GCOSI, and GCOSC subscale
scores in our study were not correlated, al-
though the relationship between autonomy and
impersonal orientations approached statistical
significance (p.54; see Table 2). The absence
of statistically significant correlations between
GCOS subscale scores comports with the as-
sumption of self-determination theory that cau-
sality orientations are distinct (Olesen, Thom-
1
We recognize objections to removing potentially legit-
imate outliers, particularly in studies that administer mea-
sures developed in the United States to participants in other
countries. We would respond by noting that only three
multivariate outliers, whose legitimacy could not be disam-
biguated, were removed before the data analyses to obtain a
more accurate estimate of population parameters.
41CAUSALITY ORIENTATIONS AND WELL-BEING
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sen, Schnieber, & Tonnesvang, 2010) and,
therefore, their measurement with instruments
such as the GCOS should be largely indepen-
dent (Koestner & Zuckerman, 1994).
The GCOS consists of 12 vignettes which
respondents rate on three 7-point Likert scales
(1 very unlikely,7very likely) that measure
autonomy, impersonal, and controlled orienta-
tions. The 12 ratings given for each causality
orientation are summed to yield a total score,
and indicate how typical each orientation is for
the respondent, with higher scores denoting the
magnitude of each orientation. A sample vi-
gnette reads, You are embarking on a new ca-
reer. The most important consideration is likely
to be . . ., with respondents asked how they
would likely react in that situation. The GCOS
has good internal consistency and stability as
well as empirical ties to related constructs, in-
cluding self-actualization, self-esteem, and per-
sonality development (Deci & Ryan, 1985), and
has been used cross-nationally with university
students (e.g., Olesen et al., 2010). In our study,
the internal consistency of GCOS subscales
ranged from acceptable to fair (GCOSA ␣⫽
.661, GCOSI ␣⫽.754, GCOSC ␣⫽.760), and
are comparable with those obtained by Deci and
Ryan (1985).
Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS).
The SWLS (Diener et al., 1985) is a measure of
psychological well-being. The SWLS was de-
veloped out of a need to measure the cognitive
evaluation of a person’s satisfaction with life, as
opposed to an ideal standard. The SWLS con-
sists of five items that are rated on a 7-point
Likert scale (1 strongly disagree,7
strongly agree), with scores above 20 indicating
life satisfaction. A sample item reads, The con-
ditions of my life are excellent. The scale has
been used in cross-national studies with univer-
sity students (Pavot & Diener, 1993), with most
reporting good to excellent psychometric prop-
erties. The internal consistency the SWLS in
our study was good (␣⫽.874).
Subjective Vitality Scale (SVS). The SVS
(Ryan & Frederick, 1997) measures functional
elements of actualizing individuals, including
the experience of agency, awareness, and alive-
ness, all of which have been construed as well-
being outcomes of eudaimonia, or living well
(Ryan & Deci, 2000,2001). Based on the in-
structions, the SVS can serve as an index of a
Table 1
Descriptive Data for Romanian and All Other Participants
GCOSA
M(SD)GCOSI
M(SD)GCOSC
M(SD)SWLS
M(SD)SVS
M(SD)
Romanians (n53) 69.19 (6.651) 43.43 (10.500) 51.38 (9.322) 21.94 (6.614) 32.55 (8.579)
Other nationalities (n23) 68.00 (8.453) 48.26 (11.375) 55.39 (10.183) 23.87 (5.234) 33.91 (9.453)
Total (N76) 68.83 (7.208) 44.89 (10.926) 52.59 (9.701) 22.53 (6.258) 32.96 (8.811)
Note. Degrees of freedom 74; GCOSA General Causality Orientations Scale–Autonomy; GCOSI General
Causality Orientations Scale–Impersonal; GCOSC General Causality Orientations Scale–Controlled; SWLS Satis-
faction With Life Scale; SVS Subjective Vitality Scale.
Table 2
Pearson Correlations for Scale Scores, Subscale Scores, and Demographic Data
GCOSA GCOSI GCOSC SWLS SVS Age Income
GCOSA .220 .054 .197 .134 .222 .041
GCOSI .163 .019 .275
.093 .020
GCOSC .000 .210 .061 .030
SWLS .469
ⴱⴱ
.112 .260
SVS .239 .276
Age .474
ⴱⴱ
Note. Degrees of freedom 74; GCOSA General Causality Orientations Scale–Autonomy; GCOSI General
Causality Orientations Scale–Impersonal; GCOSC General Causality Orientations Scale–Controlled; SWLS Satis-
faction With Life Scale; SVS Subjective Vitality Scale.
p.05.
ⴱⴱ
p.001.
42 STEVENS, CONSTANTINESCU, UGUR, AND CONSTANTINESCU
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stable individual difference variable or a tran-
sient state confined to a specified situation. We
had participants complete the SVS in terms of
how well each item reflected their general self-
perception. The SVS has seven items that are
rated with a 7-point Likert scale (1 not at all
true,7very true), with higher scores denoting
greater subjective vitality. A sample item reads
I am true to myself in most situations. The SVS
appears to be unidimensional (Bostic, Rubio, &
Hood, 2000), has positive associations with in-
dicators of organismic wellness (Huta, 2013a,
2013b;Nix, Ryan, Manly, & Deci, 1999;Ryan
& Deci, 2001), is positively related to self-
actualization and self-esteem and negatively re-
lated to anxiety and depression (Ryan & Fred-
erick, 1997;Ryan & Deci, 2001), and has been
used cross-nationally and with university stu-
dents (e.g., Solberg, Halvari, & Ommundsen,
2013). The internal consistency of the SVS in
our study was acceptable (␣⫽.682).
Background questionnaire. The back-
ground questionnaire consisted of multiple-
choice and open-ended items that inquired
about gender, age, monthly income, marital sta-
tus, number of children, nationality, education
level, and proficiency in written English.
Procedure
We recruited participants through e-mail
lists, listservs, and social network sites that were
student-oriented (e.g., Academia.edu, Face-
book, Google Groups, Yahoo Groups), inviting
only undergraduate, postgraduate, and recent
university graduates to respond. Participants
were informed that the study would examine the
relationship of motivation to well-being, that
participation would involve competing ques-
tionnaires, that participation was voluntary, that
they could withdraw from the study at will, and
that efforts were in place to maintain the confi-
dentiality of their identity and responses. We
administered measures online using Google
Forms. Participants completed the measures in
invariant order (i.e., SWLS, GCOS, SVS, back-
ground questionnaire), with instructions to be
forthright. Participants were offered the oppor-
tunity receive feedback on their SWLS scores
via secure e-mail after all data had been col-
lected. After completing the measures, partici-
pants were given the e-mail address of the sec-
ond author to contact if they had questions or
concerns about the study or their experiences,
and were assured of receiving an interpretation
of their SWLS scores had they requested it (two
participants requested feedback). The measures
required 20 to 30 minutes to complete, and the
data collection took approximately 2 months.
Design and Analyses
The design of our study was correlational.
We performed a one-way repeated-measures
ANOVA to determine whether GCOS subscale
means differed in magnitude as predicted by
self-determination theory. We ran separate one-
way ANOVAs to test for gender differences in
GCOSA, GCOSI, and GSOSC subscale scores
to discover whether the results of previous re-
search would hold for our European and Eur-
asian sample. We calculated Pearson product–
moment correlation coefficients to ascertain the
association between SWLS and SVS scores, the
degree of independence among CGOS subscale
scores, and the zero-order relationships of pred-
icator and criterion scores with selected demo-
graphic data. Finally, we performed two step-
wise multiple regression analyses with the three
GCOS subscale scores as predictors of SWLS
scores or SVS scores. In each analysis, income
was entered first as a control variable, followed
by the three CGOS subscale scores, whose or-
der of entry was determined by the greatest R
2
increase given the previously entered variables.
Our aim was to establish the most parsimonious
combination as well as the relative contribution
of the three general causality orientations in
predicting a particular type of psychological
well-being. We adopted a .05 significance level
or our analyses based on statistical power of .80
or above.
Results
Inspection of the means for GCOS subscales
scores showed differences in magnitude. The
means ranged from autonomy orientation as
most pervasive (M
GCOSA
68.83, SD
GCOSA
7.208), to controlled orientation as moderately
prevalent (M
GCOSC
52.59, SD
GCOSC
9.701), and to impersonal orientation as least
prominent (M
GCOSI
44.89, SD
GCOSI
10.
926). A one-way repeated measures ANOVA of
GCOS subscale scores was statistically signifi-
cant, F(1, 75) 318.476, p.001,
2
0.809,
43CAUSALITY ORIENTATIONS AND WELL-BEING
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which is a large effect. A Least Significant
Difference follow-up test revealed that each
GCOS subscale mean differed from every other
GCOS subscale mean at p.001, supporting
our first hypothesis.
We compared the autonomy, controlled, and
impersonal causality orientations of men and
women. A one-way ANOVA of gender on
GCOSA subscale scores was statistically signif-
icant, F(1, 74) 7.438, p.008, d0.736,
which is a large effect, with women reporting
higher GCOSA subscale scores (M70.03,
SD 7.162) than men (M64.94, SD
6.024). A statistically significant gender differ-
ence did not emerge on GCOSC subscale
scores, F(1, 74) 2.598, p.111; M
women
51.60, SD
women
9.878; M
men
55.78, SD
men
8.599). Together, these findings partially con-
firmed our second hypothesis. Finally, a gender
difference did not emerge on GCOCI subscale
scores, F(1, 74) 0.345, p.559; M
women
44.48, SD
women
10.562; M
men
46.22,
SD
men
12.255). Nonsignificant Levene’s tests
allayed concern about unequal variances in the
three sets of GCOS subscale scores given un-
equal numbers of men and women. Because
unequal samples can distort pvalues, we com-
pared the GCOS subscale scores of a random
sample of 18 women from the total of 58 to the
scores of the 18 men. The three ANOVAs
yielded similar results to those reported above,
with a slightly higher pvalue, F(1, 34) 4.761,
p.036, d0.727; women produced higher
GCOSA subscale scores (M69.44, SD
6.345) than did men (M64.94, SD 6.024).
We correlated SWLS and SVS scores,
which served as indicants of psychological
well-being. SWLS and SVS scores were mod-
erately correlated, r(74) 0.469, p.001,
95% CI [.282 – .632], just shy of a large
effect. This association supports our third hy-
pothesis and is consistent with consistent with
a growing literature (Henderson & Knight,
2012;Huta, 2013a,2013b;Huta & Ryan,
2010;Ryan & Deci, 2001;Ryan & Frederick,
1997;Waterman, 2008).
Because income was positive correlated with
SWLS scores, r(74) .260, p.023, 95% CI
[.089 – .412], and SVS scores, r(74) .276,
p.016, 95% CI [.066 – .466] (see Table 2),
we entered income as a control variable in both
regression analyses. The stepwise multiple re-
gression analysis of GCOS subscale scores on
SWLS scores was not statistically significant,
with no GCOS subscale scores entered into the
regression equation; furthermore, there were no
statistically significant zero-order correlations
between GCOS subscale scores and SWLS
scores (see Table 2).
SVS scores had a moderate negative correlation
with GCOSI subscale scores, r(74) ⫽⫺.275, p
.016, 95% CI [.483 – .031], and a positive
association with GCOSC subscale scores that fell
close to statistical significance, r(74) .210, p
.069, 95% CI [.011 – .401]; the association
between SVS and GCOSA scores was not statis-
tically significant (see Table 2). With income en-
tered as a control variable, the stepwise multiple
regression analysis of GCOS subscale scores on
SVS scores was statistically significant (see Table
3), with income, GCOSI subscale scores, and
GCOSC subscale scores together accounting for a
18.7% of the variance of SVS scores, R
2
0.187,
F(3, 72) 6.733, p.001, f
2
0.230, a mod-
erate overall effect. Income was a positive predic-
tor of SVS scores, R
2
.076, F(1, 74) 6.101,
Table 3
Stepwise Multiple Regression Analysis Predicting SVS Scores From GCOS
Subscale Score
Model
SVS
BSE(B)t95% CI
Income .004 .002 .278 2.665
ⴱⴱ
.001 – .008
GCOSI .252 .085 .313 2.965
ⴱⴱ
.422 – .083
GCOSC .244 .096 .269 2.547
.053 – .435
Note. GCOS General Causality Orientations Scale; GCOSA General Causality Orienta-
tions Scale–Autonomy; GCOSI General Causality Orientations Scale–Impersonal; GCOSC
General Causality Orientations Scale–Controlled; SVS Subjective Vitality Scale.
p.05.
ⴱⴱ
p.01.
44 STEVENS, CONSTANTINESCU, UGUR, AND CONSTANTINESCU
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p.016, f
2
.082. GCOSI scores negatively
predicted SVS scores, R
2
.070, F(1, 73)
6.222, p.015, f
2
0.078. And, GCOSC scores
positively predicted SVS scores, R
2
.071, F(1,
72) 6.486, p.013, f
2
0.076. These findings
failed to support most of our fourth hypothesis
about the relationship of general causality orien-
tations to psychological well-being. We also did
not anticipate the direction of the controlled cau-
sality orientation that explained vitality.
Discussion
We endeavored to narrow the gap in the
literature between general causality orientations
and psychological well-being by examining the
relationship of these variables in a sample of
young European and Eurasian adults.
Causality Orientations
We confirmed our first hypothesis that gen-
eral causality orientations would differ in mag-
nitude, with autonomy orientation emerging as
predominant, controlled orientation as moder-
ately strong, and impersonal orientation as least
pervasive. This pattern of means parallels those
obtained by Olesen et al. (2010) and Deci and
Ryan (1985) for university students and engi-
neers. The large effect size for the repeated
measures ANOVA bolsters the case for the
cross-national generalizability of a major as-
sumption undergirding self-determination the-
ory that self-initiated choices and internally reg-
ulated functioning may be a stronger causality
orientation than pressured and imposed choices
and externally regulated functioning (Chirkov,
2009;Deci et al., 2001;Ryan et al., 1999;Ryan
& Deci, 2001). This claim awaits substantiation
in research conducted with larger and more
representative European and Eurasian samples.
Notwithstanding the reported strengths of these
causality orientations, they neither predicted life
satisfaction nor contributed in a similar order of
magnitude to the explanation of variance in
reported vitality (see Table 3).
Consistent with our second hypothesis,
women were more inclined toward an auton-
omy orientation than were men, a difference
found in studies involving U.S. and non-U.S.
samples (Deci & Ryan, 1985;Soenens et al.,
2005;Vallerand et al., 1987;Wong, 2000).
Women did not differ from men in controlled
orientation (Soenens et al., 2005;Wong, 2000)
or impersonal orientation. Our findings are
noteworthy in that this is the only study to test
for gender differences in general causality ori-
entations in an adult European and Eurasian
sample. Cross-national evidence for a gendered
pattern in autonomy orientation suggests that
women have acquired a stronger perception of
their own capacity for self-determination,
whereby they intentionally choose and freely
pursue intrinsic goals and/or self-concordant
extrinsic goals. Notwithstanding evidence of
consistency in autonomy orientation across age
(Ryan & La Guardia, 2000), we believe it is
premature to conclude that autonomy orienta-
tion is not malleable within limits defined by
biological predisposition. Rather, we submit
that this consistent gender difference in auton-
omy orientation may also reflect women’s de-
velopmental history and current social and cul-
tural affordances (Ryan & Deci, 2001;Ryan et
al., 2008). The gendered pattern of results we
obtained, then, could reveal the effects of laws,
policies, education, and parenting (Joussemet,
Landry, & Koestner, 2008) that have supported
the development of autonomy orientation in
women the world over, including young, edu-
cated European and Eurasian women. Global-
ization has likely accelerated the impact of fem-
inism and raised women’s awareness of and
willingness to express their inherent freedom to
determine their own destiny (Inglehart & Baker,
2000). This interpretation comports with evi-
dence of high awareness among young Euro-
pean women about social inequality generally
(TNS Qual, 2011) and a lessening of gender
inequality in parts of Europe (e.g., Marginean,
2012).
Psychological Well-Being
As in prior studies (Huta & Ryan, 2010;Ryan
& Deci, 2001;Ryan & Frederick, 1997;Water-
man, 2008), we confirmed our third hypothesis
that life satisfaction and vitality, both elements
of psychological well-being, would be moder-
ately correlated in our sample of young Euro-
pean and Eurasian adults. Life satisfaction and
vitality have historically been used as outcome
indices of hedonic fulfillment or eudaimonic
living, respectively (Ryan & Deci, 2001;Ryan
et al., 2008). However, the cognitive evaluation
of life satisfaction is a conceptually plausible
45CAUSALITY ORIENTATIONS AND WELL-BEING
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outcome of eudaimonic living, and vitality
could signal subjectively felt rejuvenation due
to the pursuit hedonic pleasure (Huta 2013a,
2013b). Hence, the moderate association be-
tween life satisfaction and vitality was not sur-
prising. Because life satisfaction and vitality
can operate as indicators of both hedonic and
eudaimonic well-being, we support calls to
more fully integrate the knowledge and research
foci of these perspectives (Henderson & Knight,
2012;Wong, 2011). Innovative approaches
(e.g., idiographic methods, and multilevel mod-
eling) may prove useful in establishing the com-
bined benefits of hedonia and eudaimonia in the
contexts in which young European and Eurasian
adults lead their lives (Cheng, Cheung, Chio, &
Chan, 2013;Huta 2013a,2013b).
Causality Orientations in Relation to
Psychological Well-Being
Our fourth hypothesis, that autonomy, con-
trolled, and impersonal causality orientations
would be related to well-being outcomes of life
satisfaction and vitality, was largely discon-
firmed. None of the causality orientations pre-
dicted life satisfaction, whereas only impersonal
and controlled orientations predicted vitality.
These inconsistent findings offer additional ev-
idence to suggest that psychological well-being
is a complex phenomenon with convergent and
divergent elements (Henderson & Knight, 2012;
Huta, 2013b;Wong, 2011). They also suggest
that the cognitive evaluation of life satisfaction
may constitute a form of psychological well-
being not easily attained via the causality ori-
entations identified by self-determination theory
(Ryan & Deci, 2000,2001;Ryan et al., 2008),
measured by the GCOS (Deci & Ryan, 1985),
or experienced by young European and Eur-
asian adults.
Unlike life satisfaction, general causality ori-
entations predicted vitality in our European and
Eurasian sample. We should note that SVS
mean for our sample (M32.96) did not depart
from that for a U.S. sample of 18–24 year olds
tested by Ryan and Frederick (1997) (M
35.72). Self-determination theory suggests that
attaining psychological well-being depends on
the presence and magnitude of certain broad and
stable action tendencies (Deci & Ryan, 2000;
Ryan et al., 2008;Schmuck et al., 2000). Au-
tonomy orientation has reliably predicted psy-
chological well-being in cross-national research
(Chirkov, 2009;Deci et al., 2001;Ryan et al.,
1999;Ryan & Deci, 2001). Contrary to the
self-determination theory and empirical evi-
dence, we did not find that vitality was pre-
dicted by autonomy orientation (i.e., self-
determined choice and internally regulated
functioning), but rather was positively related to
controlled orientation (i.e., pressured and/or im-
posed choice and externally regulated function-
ing) and negatively tied to impersonal orienta-
tion (i.e., passive disengagement).
Whereas controlled causality orientation was
linked to higher vitality in our sample of young
European and Eurasian adults and impersonal
orientation appeared to undermine vitality, au-
tonomy causality orientation was unrelated to
vitality, despite being a stronger orientation in
our sample. Notwithstanding some evidence for
the consistency of autonomy orientation and its
contribution to psychological well-being over
the life span (Ryan & La Guardia, 2000), we
wonder whether the developmental history and
current social and cultural contexts in which our
young European and Eurasian adult sample is
situated (e.g., family, school, work environ-
ment) adequately valued and supported the ac-
quisition and exercise of competencies needed
to fully express their inherent autonomy orien-
tation (Ryan & Deci, 2001;Joussemet et al.,
2008;Ryan et al., 2008), at least in certain life
domains (e.g., work). It is for future research to
determine whether the lack of environmental
affordances that nurture the emergence of au-
tonomy orientation impedes the pursuit of in-
trinsic aspirations and experience of vitality.
We also found that income, which was a
control variable in the regression analyses, ex-
plained 7.6% of the variance of SVS scores, our
outcome measure of vitality. In related research
on Romanians undergraduates, Stevens et al.
(2011) observed that extrinsic aspirations may
offer an indirect pathway to psychological well-
being. Contrary to the view that the pursuit of
extrinsic goals that are not self-concordant is
unlikely to fulfill core human needs and have
negative psychological consequences (Kasser &
Ryan, 1996;Ryan et al., 1999;Schmuck et al.,
2000;Sheldon & Kasser, 2001), our research
suggests a more complex relationship between
goal content and well-being. When extrinsic
goals, irrespective of being internalized, pro-
vide a route through which to fulfill intrinsic,
46 STEVENS, CONSTANTINESCU, UGUR, AND CONSTANTINESCU
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self-concordant goals, they may enhance the
experience of vitality. Henry Murray (1938)
labeled this dynamic as subsidization, a process
whereby one goal is instrumental in the satis-
faction of another. Within self-determination
theory, Ryan et al. (2008) explained that “[ex-
ternal] aspirations will often be instrumental,
having their salience because there is something
more basic that they serve” (p. 149).
Our sample of young European and Eurasian
adults not only appeared to gain a sense of
vitality from being receptive to material rewards
(i.e., income), but also from complying with
real or imagined directives and structure (Deci
& Ryan, 1985,1991). The predication of vital-
ity by impersonal orientation further suggests
that young European and Eurasian adults are
less likely to experience a sense of energy and
aliveness through passive disengagement, in
which goal attainment is perceived as a exceed-
ing personal capacities and resources or is un-
related to volition.
The relationship of impersonal and controlled
causality orientations to vitality may reveal
something else about the contexts in which our
sample is situated. Our sample was mainly Ro-
manian and Turkish. Life in the Balkans can be
demanding and uncertain, even for young, edu-
cated, and globally connected citizens, particu-
larly where the effects of massive social transi-
tions linger and concerns about economic,
political, and social stability are ongoing (Eiroa
Orosa, 2013). For young Romanian and Turkish
adults, the experience of vitality appears to rest
on two enduring and pervasive perspectives of
how they see themselves navigating the vicissi-
tudes of their everyday world: (a) remaining
actively engaged despite ambient conditions
that seem beyond the their personal control, and
(b) being responsive to uncertain or changing
external demands and self-imposed imperatives
as well as opportunities to earn money. Young
Romanian and Turkish adults may experience
energy and aliveness as a consequence of their
tangible success in the face of adversity and
competition. However, self-determination the-
ory and research would argue that, with the
exception of dire material conditions, over time
a controlled causality orientation will fail to
adequately satisfy core human needs and even-
tuate in diminished psychological well-being
(Kasser & Ryan, 1996;Ryan et al., 1999;Ryan
& Deci, 2000,2001;Schmuck et al., 2000;
Sheldon & Kasser, 2001). Alternatively, as de-
scribed above, efforts directed at securing reli-
able access to basic resources may provide the
functional freedom needed to pursue the fulfill-
ment of individual potentialities (Ryan & Deci,
2001;Ryan et al., 2008). In fact, the perceived
economic status of Romanians, and perhaps
other Europeans and Eurasians, has been tied to
their psychological well-being by securing a
standard of living that in allows for personal
growth (Cernat, 2010;Eiroa Orosa, 2013;Ste-
vens et al., 2011;Tay & Kuykendall, 2013).
Simply put,“...material supports can enhance
access to resources and are important for hap-
piness and self-realization” (Ryan & Deci,
2001, p. 154). Future studies are needed to
determine whether and how controlled orienta-
tion and extrinsic aspirations that are not self-
concordant can produce psychological well-
being in certain social and cultural contexts.
From a cultural standpoint, although global-
ization may have precipitated a decline in tra-
ditional authority and rise in secular-rational
values (Inglehart & Baker, 2000), Romania and
Turkey remain countries with strong patriarchal
and religious traditions, and have witnessed
centuries of behavioral and social control. Ac-
cording to self-determination theory and re-
search, the effect on children of socialization
practices within families and schools character-
ized by intrusive authority and psychological
techniques to coerce the pursuit of material
goals may have encouraged the development
and expression of a controlled, as opposed to
autonomy, orientation in our sample of young
European and Eurasian adults (Deci & Ryan,
1985,1991,2000;Joussemet et al., 2008;Ryan
& Deci, 2001).
Studies are needed to clarify the types and
magnitude of causality orientations that contrib-
ute to different forms of psychological well-
being, particularly in large representative sam-
ples drawn from understudied areas, such as
Europe and Eurasia (Eiroa Orosa, 2013). We
encourage scholars to identify moderators and
mediators of the relationship between causal-
ity orientations and psychological well-being,
perhaps measuring promising cognitive (e.g.,
control beliefs, generalized expectancies),
personality (e.g., the Big Five) variables, and
environmental conditions (e.g., material and
social deprivation or support) at the individ-
ual and national levels (Eiroa Orosa, 2013;
47CAUSALITY ORIENTATIONS AND WELL-BEING
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Tay & Kuykendall, 2013). Critical to such
research is the need to understand the social
and cultural contexts that give general causal-
ity orientations and psychological well-being
their situated meaning and that dynamically
influence the development and expression of
these constructs (Cheng et al., 2013;Inglehart
& Baker, 2000;Joussemet et al., 2008;Ryan
& Deci, 2001).
Limitations
We would be remiss in overlooking the meth-
odological weaknesses of our study. Foremost
among these is the sample. Because young
adults from EU countries have expressed con-
cerns and uncertainty about personal challenges
and the societal conditions germane to their
future well-being (TNS Qual, 2011), they
seemed well-suited for investigating the link
between general causality orientations and psy-
chological well-being. However, although the
sample was large enough to ensure adequate
statistical power, it was nonetheless small and
restricted in age, education, and nationality. Be-
cause of likely sampling bias, it is questionable
whether the obtained responses were typical,
and thus whether our findings are generalizable
to the populations of young adults in Romania
and Turkey, let alone in Europe and Eurasia.
Second, although we administered psycho-
metrically sound measures, we have no evi-
dence that the constructs we measured provided
a cultural “fit” for our sample. However, it is not
unreasonable to infer from our findings that the
constructs as measured were not culturally in-
appropriate. In addition, we did not measure
dimensions of culture or level of cultural iden-
tity which would have allowed us to frame our
study with greater rigor and meaning from the
perspective of culture.
Third, our study suffered from several meth-
odological shortcomings common to Internet-
based research, many of which can be avoided
through fastidious research design. Such issues
as self-selection bias, authentication of partici-
pants, and participant misbehavior may have
compromised the trustworthiness of our data
(see Nosek, Banaji, & Greenwald, 2002 for
guidelines for online research).
Fourth, we relied on self-reported proficiency
in written English, with the result that some
participants might have been ill-prepared to
comprehend instructions, items, and response
options for the measures.
Finally, the cross-sectional nature of this
study limited the conclusions that can be drawn
from the relationships that we found. Research-
ers should study the ties between general cau-
sality orientations and psychological well-being
in terms of how young European and Eurasian
adults approach the situated demands of their
daily lives and the experiential consequences of
their actions as they unfold over time. We trust
that these limitations will be remedied in future
research on causality orientations and psycho-
logical well-being.
Despite its limitations, our study lent support
to several hypotheses based on self-determina-
tion theory by applying the theory to an under-
studied sample of young European and Eurasian
adults. The most intriguing result, one that con-
tradicted self-determination theory, was that in-
come and controlled causality orientation pre-
dicted vitality, an indicant of psychological
well-being, even though autonomy orientation
was more pervasive. Such a finding invites fur-
ther empirical tests of the cross-national gener-
alizability of a core proposition of self-
determination theory, namely that autonomy
orientation yields optimal outcomes. Such re-
search would further articulate self-determina-
tion theory’s nomological network. Moreover
situating this research in diverse social and cul-
tural contexts would serve to identify universal
versus particularistic pathways to well-being.
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Received December 17, 2013
Revision received November 4, 2014
Accepted November 5, 2014
50 STEVENS, CONSTANTINESCU, UGUR, AND CONSTANTINESCU
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... The repeated experiences with the environment will develop stable individual traits, allowing for differences on self-regulation between individuals (general causality orientations). On short, the causality orientations express an internal or external locus of causality (Stevens et al., 2015). The topic was anticipated by Vallerand (1997), who described a hierarchical model of motivation, with autonomy, competence, relatedness, as well as intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation and amotivation on all levelsglobal, contextual and situational. ...
... The activities are perceived as enjoyable, pleasant, interesting, or offering the chance for development and growth. The autonomy orientation is a characteristic of a mature personality, it is linked to self-actualization (Stevens et al., 2015) and it represents a general tendency towards intrinsic motivation and fully internalized extrinsic motivation . Other variables positively associated to autonomy are the preference for jobs which require higher initiative, the organization of the activities according to personal interests (Deci & Ryan, 1985), the self-determined work motivation (Lam & Gurland, 2008), or the job search persistence in the case of the unemployed (Vansteenkiste et al., 2004). ...
... The impersonal orientation is specific to individuals who lack motivation and feel that the outcomes are regulated by chance . The activities are perceived as beyond control, incomprehensible, exceeding personal control or with little effects on the results (Stevens et al., 2015). Individuals with higher levels of this orientation tend to consider that they are unable to regulate their behavior so they will achieve the desired outcomes (Deci & Ryan, 1985). ...
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Is it possible for people from different countries to register similar scores for their motivational orientations? Or maybe there is a common ground in motivation for people living in similar social and economic conditions, for example in SouthEastern Europe? The general causality theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985) describes individual differences in self-determination and regulation, concerning external and internal locus of causality. Although debatable, the autonomous, the control and the impersonal orientations are considered personality traits, thus allowing interesting cross-cultural comparisons. Our aim was to cover a gap of research on this topic in SouthEastern Europe, by comparing the general causality orientations between three sub-samples selected from Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania, using a total sample of 225 participants, relatively evenly distributed between countries. The results revealed significant differences between countries, with the Bulgarian sample registering higher scores for autonomy, control, and impersonal. Unexpected strong correlations were found between the autonomous and the control orientations for the entire sample. The different age of the participants from the three samples, the sampling procedure and the recent economic developments may explain the results.
... GCT holds that both the aspirational content (i.e., goals) and the manner in which such goals are pursued are dimensions of motivation that contribute to well-being and psychological functioning (see Ryan et al., 2008). As stated at the outset, one of our main propositions is that, as long as the individual aspires to personal growth and pursues this aspiration vis-àvis tangible, real-world outcomes, this expression of intrinsic motivation, along with purposive and meaningful forms of extrinsic motivation (Stevens et al., 2011; Stevens, Constantinescu, Ugur, & Constantinescu, 2015), are likely to contribute both to momentary and to enduring adaptive functioning and well-being (White & Murray, 2015; Wolbert et al., 2015), provided that conditions permit the fulfillment of basic needs. At Fatih University in Istanbul, Turkey, we developed a group-based curriculum to facilitate the personal growth of students. ...
... This progression is in line with the emphasis of Bloom's Taxonomy on cognitive and affective integration, the notion from SDT of values being integrated into the self (Bloom, 1956; Bloom et al., 1956; Krathwohl, 2002; Ryan et al., 2008), goal-content theory (e.g. Stevens et al., 2011; Stevens et al., 2015), mindfulness (Brown et al., 2007), and positive education (i.e., teaching, building, and embedding social and emotional learning throughout a student's experience; White & Murray, 2015), all of which have beneficial effects on motivation, well-being, and educational performance. Although we have not subjected our group-based curriculum to rigorous empirical evaluation, we encourage efforts to establish its efficacy and effectiveness through qualitative and quantitative research (see White & Murray, 2015). ...
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... This study assessed the indirect effects of subjective vitality on dietary intake (plantbased/natural dietary intake, animal-based/processed dietary intake, daily intake of sugar) and subjective wellbeing (LS, PA, NA). This study demonstrated consistent findings with prior research showing significant relationships between subjective vitality (SV) and subjective wellbeing (SWB) variables (Kubzansky and Thurston 2007;Ryan and Frederick 1997;Stevens et al. 2015). Results found that life satisfaction (LS) was significantly positively associated with positive affect (PA) and significantly negatively associated with negative affect (NA). ...
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Subjective wellbeing (SWB) encompasses an individual’s cognitive and affective evaluations of his or her life and includes life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect (NA). SWB and diet quality are both associated with longevity and health outcomes, yet research uniting the topics has been disjointed. In this study, subjective vitality (SV) was explored as a mechanism through which diet quality and SWB may be related. Seventy-three undergraduate psychology students completed an online survey with the Satisfaction with Life Scale, the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, the Subjective Vitality Scale, the Estimated Daily Intake Scale—Sugar, and a Dietary Screener Questionnaire. Indirect effects of diet quality (plant-based/natural (PBN) diet intake, animal-based/processed (ABP) diet intake, daily sugar intake) on SWB through SV were tested using bootstrapping according to Hayes (in: Weber (ed) Methodology in the social sciences, Guilford Press, New York, 2013). Results showed significant indirect effects between each dietary predictor (PBN, ABP, daily sugar) and SWB components through SV. Subjective vitality was significantly positively associated with PBN and SWB, and significantly negatively associated with daily intake of added sugar. Additionally, PBN positively predicted SV, which in turn positively predicted SWB. Significant positive direct and indirect effects were also found between ABP and NA through SV. Implications for healthy diet interventions to improve well-being are discussed.
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Causality orientations theory, a key sub-theory of self-determination theory, identifies three distinct causality orientations: autonomy, control, and impersonal orientation. The theory proposes generalized effects of the orientations on motivation and behavior. We meta-analyzed studies (k=83) testing relations between causality orientations, forms of motivation from self-determination theory, and behavior. Pooled data were used to test a process model in which autonomous and controlled forms of motivation mediated relations between causality orientations and behavior. Results revealed that autonomy and control orientations were positively correlated with autonomous and controlled forms of motivation, respectively. Impersonal orientation was correlated negatively with autonomy orientation and autonomous forms of motivation, and positively with control orientation and controlled forms of motivation. Process model tests revealed total effects of autonomy orientation on behavior, comprising direct and indirect effects through autonomous motivation, and a positive direct effect of control orientation on behavior and a negative indirect effect through controlled motivation, resulting in a zero total effect. Analysis of age, gender, behavior type, study design, and study quality revealed few moderator effects on model relations. Findings support effects of autonomy orientation on motivation and behavior, and the processes involved, and identifies constructs that could be targeted, or circumvented, in behavioral interventions.
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