Who Enjoys Solitude? Autonomous Functioning (but not introversion) Predicts Self-determined Motivation (but not preference) for Solitude.

Nguyen, Weinstein & Ryan, 2022

Within the solitude literature, two discrete constructs reflect different perspectives on how time spent alone is motivated. Self-determined motivation for solitude reflects wanting time alone to find enjoyment and gain meaningful benefits from it, whereas preference for solitude concerns wanting time for oneself over others’ company regardless of reasons for why time alone is wanted. We investigated two personality characteristics: introversion from Big-Five personality theory and dispositional autonomy from self-determination theory. In two diary studies university students completed personality measures and reported about their experiences with time spent alone over a period of seven days. Across both studies, contrary to popular belief that introverts spend time alone because they enjoy it, results showed no evidence that introversion is predictive of either preference or motivation for solitude. Dispositional autonomy–the tendency to regulate from a place of self-congruence, interest, and lack of pressure–consistently predicted self-determined motivation for solitude but was unrelated to preference for solitude. These findings provided evidence supporting the link between valuing time spent alone with individual differences in the capacity to self-regulate in choiceful and authentic way.

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Full reference: Nguyen, T. V. T., Weinstein, N., & Ryan, R. M. (2022). Who enjoys solitude? autonomous functioning (but not introversion) predicts self-determined motivation (but not preference) for solitude. Plos one, 17(5), e0267185.