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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? »

Otago Daily Times: The loss of tribal connection

Otago Daily Times: The loss of tribal connection

September 5, 2016 Sebastian Junger, award-winning journalist and bestselling author, highlights the disconnect and lack of belonging in modern society and its costs...

 
The Conversation: How Pokemon Go turned couch potatoes into fitness fanatics without them even realising it

The Conversation: How Pokemon Go turned couch potatoes into fitness fanatics without them even realising it

August 11, 2016 / By John A. Parkinson / This fun article talks about how Pokemon Go motivates users to be physically active from a SDT perspective. Self-determination...

 
KQED News: Orlando Shooting Raises Questions About Internalized Homophobia and Violence

KQED News: Orlando Shooting Raises Questions About Internalized Homophobia and Violence

June 17, 2016 / By April Dembosky / SDT article Parental autonomy support and discrepancies between implicit and explicit sexual identities… by SDT faculty...

 
The Atlantic: How Kids Learn Resilience

The Atlantic: How Kids Learn Resilience

June 2016 / By Paul Tough / Self-Determination Theory acknowledged by The Atlantic as an important perspective in education. Interesting article on children’s...

 
See Recently Released SDT Articles Here First

See Recently Released SDT Articles Here First

Advance Online SDT Articles: Donald, J. N., Atkins, P. W. B., Parker, P. D., Christie, A. M., & Ryan, R. M. (2016). Daily stress and the benefits of mindfulness:...