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Gorlova N.V. (2019). Autonomy conflicts resolution: theoretical approach to adolescents’ personal autonomy. National Psychological Journal, 1, 47-58


Background. One of theoretical approaches towards developmental tasks in adolescence is the study of personal autonomy. The modern fast-paced world expects adolescents to be independent and proactive.

The Objective is to study the overall state of the issue and to highlight the mostly discussed theoretical approaches to personal autonomy, to provide the reader with the detailed review of the approaches to personal autonomy from the view-point of autonomy conflict resolution.

Design. The analysis of various approaches to personal autonomy identified developmental sources of autonomy within intra- and in interpersonal ways. The paper discusses theoretical approaches to adolescent’s personal autonomy that considers conflict as a mechanism of development. The paper presents a model of psychological readiness to resolve autonomy conflicts that may disclose how conflicts are triggered and how they could be resolved within intra- and in interpersonal way.

Results. An analysis of classical and modern research has shown that personal autonomy is appropriated by adolescents through their resolution of conflicts in various areas of the psychological space. Based on the provisions of a number of theoretical approaches, it has been revealed that the core matter of conflicts is the contradiction “external control vs one's own will” and the contradiction “dependence vs independence”. The author proposes studying personal autonomy by drawing insights form psychological readiness of autonomy conflicts resolution using locus of control scale and also through the measurement of actual conflicts of autonomy and assertion as conflict resolution style using existential experience.

The author's vision of the personal autonomy of adolescents is based on the study of psychological readiness to resolve autonomy conflicts at the dispositional level. Conflict as a mechanism of development is a developmental crisis stage where contradictions could be removed. Diversity of classical and modern studies show that the autonomy is developed in adolescents through the resolution of conflicts in different spheres of psychological space. The social cognitive domain theory of J.G.Smetana and the theory of psychological sovereignty (S.K.Nartova-Bochaver) are discussed in detail. According to the theories under consideration, personal autonomy reveals in adolescents to a different degree and at different levels. In some domains, they are more independent, while they do not manifest independence in other psychological domains.

Conclusion. The approach to adolescents’ personal autonomy as autonomy conflict resolution in different psychological domains is described. Autonomy conflict resolution can be controlled or prohibited by close relatives, e.g. parents. The model of psychological readiness of autonomy conflict resolution may disclose how autonomy conflicts are triggered by and be resolved within intra- and in interpersonal way. The contradictions may be removed through autonomy conflict resolution.

Received: 02/13/2019
Accepted: 03/03/2019
Pages: 47-58
DOI: 10.11621/npj.2019.0105

By: Gorlova N.V.;

Sections: Developmental Psychology;

PDF: /pdf/npj-no33-2019/npj_no33_2019_047-058.pdf

Keywords: adolescents; adolescence; personality autonomy; late adolescence; autonomy in child-parental relations;

Available Online 30.04.2019

Table 1. Model of psychological readiness to resolve conflicts of autonomy



Autonomy Conflict Resolution Markers

Contradictions at conflict base 

Levels of psychological readiness to resolve conflicts of autonomy

Dispositional (inside personality)

Conflict resolution in favour of autonomy assignment - internal locus of control

“External Control - Own Will”

Existential experience (межличностный)

Conflict resolution in favour of autonomy assignment: 1. “adolescent” autonomy conflicts have been important in the past; 2. “youth” conflicts of autonomy are important for the subjective present; 3. They resolve conflicts of autonomy defending their position.

“Dependence - Independence”


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Gorlova N.V. (2019). Autonomy conflicts resolution: theoretical approach to adolescents’ personal autonomy. National Psychological Journal, 1, 47-58

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