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Title: Learning how to support the development of self-determination in young people :a self-determination theory perspective
Authors: Nicolaysen, Sophie Cara
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Self-determination is described as an innate predisposition to experience choice, develop our competencies and interact within our social environment. Nourishing self-determination empowers young people to achieve goals, be autonomous and feel socially connected. This is key in today’s society where youth unemployment and poverty are high, students from low economic backgrounds continue to experience lower academic success and deprivation is successive within families. Self-Determination Theory (SDT) emphasises the importance of satisfying basic underpinning psychological needs for life-long psychological growth and wellbeing. The three papers depict the research journey undertaken to explore the application of SDT in work to support young people. The systematic review focuses on interventions that develop self-determination. A quantitative approach was taken to synthesise the findings from eight papers. The papers suggest interventions targeting specific skills increased young people’s self-determination. However, the majority of studies used small sample sizes and narrow quantitative outcome measures over a short timeframe. Chapter 2 is a bridging document providing philosophical and theoretical context to explain how the systematic review led to the empirical research. Critical reflections on research methodology and researcher reflexivity are also explored. Chapter 3 presents the empirical research. The systematic review highlighted a gap in how young people’s underpinning psychological needs are met systemically. Eleven participants from a multi-agency service took part in an Appreciative Inquiry to explore their work with young people. Theory driven data analysis was applied to identify how young people’s needs are met. Findings indicate that professionals work in a variety of ways to meet underpinning needs of autonomy and competence. Further development into meeting needs at the systemic level and more ways to meet young people’s relatedness needs may be required. The research also highlighted that developing the self-determination of young people and professionals by simultaneously meeting their underpinning psychological needs may be effective.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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