The Relationship Between Autonomous Motivation and Goal Pursuit: A Cross-cultural Perspective



Document Type


Publication Date



People pursue their goals for different reasons, and previous research has distinguished two types of autonomous reason: relationally autonomous reasons (RARs) and personally autonomous reasons (PARs). The present study examines how RARs and PARs predict goal performance and well-being differently for people in individualistic and collectivistic cultures. Participants included 250 American and 246 Chinese undergraduate students. They listed two of the most important goals they were currently pursuing, and completed survey measures to assess their RARs, PARs, goal effort and progress, and personal and collective self-esteem. The moderating effect of culture on how RARs and PARs influence goal outcomes was tested through structural equation modelling analyses, so that both RARs and PARs could be incorporated into the analyses. The results indicate cultural differences in the degree to which PARs and RARs relate to goal performance and well-being. Implications regarding the role of autonomy in different cultures are discussed.

Journal Title

Asian Journal of Social Psychology