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Self-Determination Theory (SDT) is a theory of motivation. It is concerned with supporting our natural or intrinsic tendencies to behave in effective and healthy ways. SDT has been researched and practiced by a network of researchers around the world.

The theory was initially developed by Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan, and has been elaborated and refined by scholars from many countries. Deci is currently a professor at the University of Rochester in the Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology in Rochester, NY; Ryan, a clinical psychologist, was recently appointed as Professor at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education at the Australian Catholic University in Sydney, Australia.  Together and separately, Deci and Ryan have promoted SDT through theory, research, and their ongoing training of scholars.

This website presents a brief overview of SDT and provides resources that address important issues such as human needs, values, intrinsic motivation, development, motivation across cultures, individual differences, and psychological well-being. Also addressed are the applications of Self-Determination Theory to:

  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Relationships
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychopathology
  • Organizations
  • Sports and Exercise
  • Goals
  • Health and Well-being
  • Environment

Did You Know? »

See Recently Released SDT Articles Here First

See Recently Released SDT Articles Here First

Advance Online SDT Articles: Roth, G., Shane, N., & Kanat-Maymon, Y. (in press). Empathising with the enemy: emotion regulation and support for humanitarian...

 
Nonprofit Quaterly: The New Employment Contract and How Nonprofits Must Honor It

Nonprofit Quaterly: The New Employment Contract and How Nonprofits Must Honor It

November 1, 2016 / By The Editors at Nonprofit Quarterly / This article describes specific issues involved in the transition between industrial and information eras...

 
Business Wire: From “ROI” to “PHI”: State Street’s Center for Applied Research and CFA Institute Identify a Hidden Variable of Performance

Business Wire: From “ROI” to “PHI”: State Street’s Center for Applied Research and CFA Institute Identify a Hidden Variable of Performance

October 31, 2016 / ByAnne McNally / New research applying SDT (titled:“Finding Phi: Motivation as the Hidden Variable of Performance”) shows that integrating...

 
personal trainer training man with kettle bell

Canning Times: Curtin Uni research finds ‘no pain no gain’ training ethos demotivating

October 26, 2016 / By Pia van Straalen / Interesting article cites SDT work by Niko Ntoumanis that challenges the motto “no pain, no gain” adopted by...

 
UNLV News Center: The Science Behind Employee Loyalty

UNLV News Center: The Science Behind Employee Loyalty

October 26, 2016 / By Angela Ramsey / This article about hospitality organizations refers to satisfaction of basic psychological needs as a way to increase workplace...