The Evidence Portal

Fostering autonomy and independence

Flexible activity

Fostering autonomy and independence is key to facilitating a successful transition from childhood/adolescence into adulthood, and ensuring young people develop the skills and confidence to make their own healthy choices. This activity involves encouraging independence and problem-solving skills that can foster developmentally appropriate autonomy and agency. It can also include life skill-building activities that teach strategies for managing the day-to-day realities of adult or young adult life.

Fostering autonomy and independence is essential to allow young people to feel free to choose their own behaviour and make their own healthy life choices. It can also promote enhanced self-concept and self-awareness, as well as confidence in one’s capacity to handle situations and effectively problem-solve.

How can it be implemented?

Fostering autonomy and independence can be facilitated in a number of ways:

Roleplay or modelling:

  • Facilitators can demonstrate tasks and reinforce information with written or visual materials
  • Peer learning and support can also bolster roleplay or modelling activities

Interactive sessions and encouraging participation in tasks:

  • Facilitators can help build young people’s self-confidence by supporting them to give tasks a go and participate

Offering choices within program delivery:

  • Empowering young people to make choices within the program itself, or to have a voice either via participation or by incorporating a feedback component, can assist with autonomy-building and self-confidence.

Who is the target group?

This flexible activity has been implemented with a number of different target groups. Key characteristics include:

  • 14-17 year-old male students
  • Smokers aged 19-29
  • 18-24 year-old young people who identify as African American

What programs conduct this activity?

  • In Guy Talk, participants established independence through responsible decision-making and developing life skills for the future. These activities were undertaken in small and large interactive group sessions.
  • In the Motivational Interviewing via Co-Active Life Coaching (MI-via-CALC), coaching relationships were focused on supporting and encouraging autonomy, and specifically, supporting participants to make decisions or take actions in service of their goals and the participants’ choices.
  • The Color it Real program incorporates life skills development as one of its constituent components.

Further resources

Last updated:

24 Nov 2022

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