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Individual autonomy includes a person’s capacity to make decisions and act according to their own choices, with freedom from manipulative external influences (1). People with disabilities may experience a loss of autonomy due to physical challenges (2).


Individual Autonomy Pro

Protective Factor

Autonomy is a protective factor for mental health. In terms of parenting, psychological well-being has been associated with more autonomy in the transition to adulthood (3). Furthermore, ‘helicopter parenting’, a parenting style where there is excessive control and involvement, has been associated with harming well-being and depression  (4,5). In the workplace, individual autonomy has also been linked with improved subjective well-being (6).  Lastly, having autonomy over decisions has been linked to well-being in people with disabilities.



1.        Christman J. Autonomy in Moral and Political Philosophy. In: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [Internet]. Fall 2020. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University; 2020. Available from:

2.        Teshale SM, Molton IR, Jensen MP. Associations among decisional autonomy, fatigue, pain, and well-being in long-term physical disability. Rehabil Psychol [Internet]. 2019 Aug 1 [cited 2021 Feb 4];64(3):288–97. Available from:

3.        Melendro M, Campos G, Rodríguez-Bravo AE, Arroyo Resino D. Young People’s Autonomy and Psychological Well-Being in the Transition to Adulthood: A Pathway Analysis. Front Psychol [Internet]. 2020 Aug 7 [cited 2021 Jan 25];11:1946. Available from:

4.        Kouros CD, Pruitt MM, Ekas N V., Kiriaki R, Sunderland M. Helicopter Parenting, Autonomy Support, and College Students’ Mental Health and Well-being: The Moderating Role of Sex and Ethnicity. J Child Fam Stud [Internet]. 2017 Mar 1 [cited 2021 Jan 25];26(3):939–49. Available from:

5.        Schiffrin HH, Liss M, Miles-McLean H, Geary KA, Erchull MJ, Tashner T. Helping or Hovering? The Effects of Helicopter Parenting on College Students’ Well-Being. J Child Fam Stud [Internet]. 2014 Apr 9 [cited 2021 Feb 4];23(3):548–57. Available from:

6.        Wheatley D. Autonomy in Paid Work and Employee Subjective Well-Being. Work Occup [Internet]. 2017 Aug 5 [cited 2021 Feb 4];44(3):296–328. Available from:


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