Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Debra Steele-Johnson, Ph.D. (Advisor); Nathan Bowling, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Ion Juvina, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Organizational leaders want to retain employees who are healthy and motivated. Physical and mental health issues are on the rise in America for younger and older generations. Researchers have found that higher levels of autonomy relate to improved mental health, physical health, job satisfaction, performance, and the list goes on. However, a gap in the literature is a lack of understanding of the complex relationships between autonomy and outcomes, both functional and dysfunctional. I found that intrinsic motivation and autonomy support can compensate for lower levels of autonomy in one’s work. These new findings provide researchers and organizational leaders with a modern perspective on past well-established findings. Organizational leaders can directly improve their employees’ work and life outcomes by allocating resources and implementing interventions to align employees with work they enjoy and train leaders to better support their employees’ autonomy.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Psychology

Year Degree Awarded