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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: Uysal, A., Ascigil, E. & Turunc, G. (in press). Spousal autonomy support, need satisfaction, and well-being in individuals with...

 
SDT Faculty to Give Talks @ Motivation Research Symposium / Feb 10, 2017 / Amsterdam

SDT Faculty to Give Talks @ Motivation Research Symposium / Feb 10, 2017 / Amsterdam

Richard Ryan and Maarten Vansteenkiste to give keynote talks at the Research on Motivation Trends and Movements Symposium Friday, 10th February 2017 Amsterdam, The...

 
Psychiatric Times: New Evidence Suggests Media Violence Effects May Be Minimal

Psychiatric Times: New Evidence Suggests Media Violence Effects May Be Minimal

November 24, 2016 / By Christopher Ferguson, Ph.D. / Another interesting article explaining how our understanding of media violence effects have changed in recent...

 
National Post: ‘Does this make me look big?’ Researchers explore what makes women ‘fat talk’

National Post: ‘Does this make me look big?’ Researchers explore what makes women ‘fat talk’

November 17, 2016 / By Sharon Kirke / New work on motivations and consequences of negative body-image talk by SDT faculty Luc Pelletier and colleagues featured...

 
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...