The authors examined a theoretical model linking interpersonal relatedness and self-definition (S. J. Blatt. 1974), autonomous and controlled regulation (E. L. Deci & R. M. Ryan, 1985), and negative and positive life events in adolescence (N = 860). They hypothesized that motivational orientation would mediate the effects of interpersonal relatedness and self-definition on life events. Self-criticism, a maladaptive form of self-definition, predicted less positive events, whereas efficacy, an adaptive form of self-definition, predicted more positive events. These effects were fully mediated by the absence and presence, respectively, of autonomous motivation. Controlled motivation, predicted by self-criticism and maladaptive neediness, did not predict negative events. Results illustrate the centrality of protective, pleasure-related processes in adaptive adolescent development.