Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI)

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Scale Description

The Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI) is a multidimensional measurement device intended to assess participants’ subjective experience related to a target activity in laboratory experiments. It has been used in several experiments related to intrinsic motivation and self-regulation (e.g., Ryan, 1982; Ryan, Mims & Koestner, 1983; Plant & Ryan, 1985; Ryan, Connell, & Plant, 1990; Ryan, Koestner & Deci, 1991; Deci, Eghrari, Patrick, & Leone, 1994). The instrument assesses participants’ interest/enjoyment, perceived competence, effort, value/usefulness, felt pressure and tension, and perceived choice while performing a given activity, thus yielding six subscale scores. Recently, a seventh subscale has been added to tap the experiences of relatedness, although the validity of this subscale has yet to be established. The interest/enjoyment subscale is considered the self-report measure of intrinsic motivation; thus, although the overall questionnaire is called the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory, it is only the one subscale that assesses intrinsic motivation, per se. As a result, the interest/enjoyment subscale often has more items on it than the others. The perceived choice and perceived competence concepts are theorized to be positive predictors of both self-report and behavioral measures of intrinsic motivation, and pressure/tension is theorized to be a negative predictor of intrinsic motivation. Effort is a separate variable that is relevant to some motivation questions, so it is used if its relevant. The value/usefulness subscale is used in internalization studies (e.g., Deci et al, 1994), the idea being that people internalize and become self-regulating with respect to activities that they experience as useful or valuable for themselves. Finally, the relatedness subscale is used in studies having to do with interpersonal interactions, friendship formation, and so on.

The IMI consists of varied numbers of items from these subscales, all of which have been shown to be factor analytically coherent and stable across a variety of tasks, conditions, and settings. The general criteria for inclusion of items on subscales have been a factor loading of at least 0.6 on the appropriate subscale, and no cross loadings above 0.4. Typically, loadings substantially exceed these criteria. Nonetheless, we recommend that investigators perform their own factor analyses on new data sets. Past research suggests that order effects of item presentation appear to be negligible, and the inclusion or exclusion of specific subscales appears to have no impact on the others. Thus, it is rare that all items have been used in a particular experiment. Instead, experimenters have chosen the subscales that are relevant to the issues they are exploring.

The IMI items have often been modified slightly to fit specific activities. For example, an item such as “I tried very hard to do well at this activity” can be changed to “I tried very hard to do well on these puzzles” or “…in learning this material” without effecting its reliability or validity. As one can readily tell, there is nothing subtle about these items; they are quite face-valid. However, in part, because of their straightforward nature, caution is needed in interpretation. We have found, for example, that correlations between self-reports of effort or interest and behavioral indices of these dimensions are quite modest–often around 0.4. Like other self-report measures, there is always the need to appropriately interpret how and why participants report as they do. Ego-involvements, self-presentation styles, reactance, and other psychological dynamics must be considered. For example, in a study by Ryan, Koestner, and Deci (1991), we found that when participants were ego involved, they engaged in pressured persistence during a free choice period and this behavior did not correlate with the self-reports of interest/enjoyment. In fact, we concluded that to be confident in one’s assessment of intrinsic motivation, one needs to find that the free-choice behavior and the self-reports of interest/enjoyment are significantly correlated.

Another issue is that of redundancy. Items within the subscales overlap considerably, although randomizing their presentation makes this less salient to most participants. Nonetheless, shorter versions have been used and have been found to be quite reliable. The incremental R for every item above 4 for any given factor is quite small. Still, it is very important to recognize that multiple item subscales consistently outperform single items for obvious reasons, and they have better external validity.

On the scale page, there are five sections. First, the full 45 items that make up the 7 subscales are shown, along with information on constructing your own IMI and scoring it. Then, there are four specific versions of the IMI that have been used in past studies. This should give you a sense of the different ways it has been used. These have different numbers of items and different numbers of subscales, and they concern different activities. First, there is a standard, 22-item version that has been used in several studies, with four subscales: interest/enjoyment, perceived competence, perceived choice, and pressure/tension. Second, there is a short 9-item version concerned with the activity of reading some text material; it has three subscales: interest/enjoyment, perceived competence, and pressure/tension. There is also the 25-item version that was used in the internalization study, including the three subscales of value/usefulness, interest/enjoyment, and perceived choice. Finally, there is a 29-item version of the interpersonal relatedness questionnaire that has five subscales: relatedness, interest/enjoyment, perceived choice, pressure/tension, and effort.

Finally, McAuley, Duncan, and Tammen (1989) did a study to examine the validity of the IMI and found strong support for its validity. Tsigilis and Theodosiou (2003) also found a Greek version of the scale to be reliable.


Deci, E. L., Eghrari, H., Patrick, B. C., & Leone, D. (1994). Facilitating internalization: The self-determination theory perspective. Journal of Personality, 62, 119-142.
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McAuley, E., Duncan, T., & Tammen, V. V. (1989). Psychometric properties of the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory in a competitive sport setting: A confirmatory factor analysis. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 60, 48-58.
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Plant, R. W., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and the effects of self-consciousness, self-awareness, and ego-involvement: An investigation of internally-controlling styles. Journal of Personality, 53, 435-449.
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Ryan, R. M. (1982). Control and information in the intrapersonal sphere: An extension of cognitive evaluation theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 450-461.
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Ryan, R. M., Connell, J. P., & Plant, R. W. (1990). Emotions in non-directed text learning. Learning and Individual Differences, 2, 1-17.
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Ryan, R. M., Koestner, R., & Deci, E. L. (1991). Varied forms of persistence: When free-choice behavior is not intrinsically motivated. Motivation and Emotion, 15, 185-205.
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Ryan, R. M., Mims, V., & Koestner, R. (1983). Relation of reward contingency and interpersonal context to intrinsic motivation: A review and test using cognitive evaluation theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 736-750.

Tsigilis, N., & Theodosiou, A. (2003). Temporal stability of the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 97, 271-280.



Perceived Competence Scales


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Scale Description

Within Self-Determination Theory, competence is assumed to be one of three fundamental psychological needs, so the feelings or perceptions of competence with respect to an activity or domain is theorized to be important both because it facilitates people’s goal attainment and also provides them with a sense of need satisfaction from engaging in an activity at which they feel effective. Therefore, perceived competence has been assessed in various studies and used, along with perceived autonomy (i.e., an autonomous regulatory style) to predict maintained behavior change, effective performance, and internalization of ambient values.

The Perceived Competence Scale (PCS) is a short, 4-item questionnaire, and is one of the most face valid of the instruments designed to assess constructs from SDT. Like several of the other measures–including the Self-Regulation Questionnaires and the Perceived Autonomy Support (Climate) Questionnaires–items on the PCS is typically written to be specific to the relevant behavior or domain being studied. The PCS assesses participants’ feelings of competence about, say, taking a particular college course, engaging in a healthier behavior, participating in a physical activity regularly, or following through on some commitment. In this packet, there are two versions of the questionnaire concerning the feelings of being able to stick with a treatment regimen and being able to master the material in a course.

Two examples of studies that have used the PSC are Williams, Freedman, Deci (1998) for management of glucose levels among patients with diabetes, and Williams and Deci (1996) for medical students learning the material in an interviewing course. The alpha measure of internal consistency for the perceived competence items in these studies was above 0.80. Additional examples of the PCS can be found in this web site within the Health Care, SDT packet: 


Williams, G. C., Freedman, Z.R., & Deci, E. L. (1998). Supporting autonomy to motivate glucose control in patients with diabetes. Diabetes Care, 21, 1644-1651.
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Williams, G. C., & Deci, E. L. (1996). Internalization of biopsychosocial values by medical students: A test of self-determination theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 767-779.


Self-Regulation Questionnaires

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Scale Description

The Concepts of Self-Regulation. SDT differentiates types of behavioral regulation in terms of the degree to which they represent autonomous or self-determined (versus controlled) functioning. Intrinsic motivation is the prototype of autonomous activity; when people are intrinsically motivated, they are by definition self-determined. Extrinsically motivated activity, in contrast, is often more controlled (i.e., less autonomous). However, SDT differentiates types of extrinsic motivation in terms of the degree to which it has been internalized, suggesting that the more fully it is internalized and integrated with one’s self, the more it will be the basis for autonomous behavior. There are four different types of behavioral regulation, defined in terms of the degree to which the regulation of an extrinsically motivated activity has been internalized and integrated. They are external regulation, introjected regulation, identified regulation, and integrated regulation, in order from the least to the most fully internalized (see Ryan & Deci, 2000, for more on this). Introjection refers to taking in a regulation but not accepting it as one’s own; identification refers to accepting the value of the activity as personally important, and integration refers to integrating that identification with other aspects of one’s self. External and introjected regulation are considered relatively controlled forms of extrinsic motivation, whereas identified and integrated regulation are considered relatively autonomous. Finally, within SDT there is a concept of Amotivation, which means to be neither intrinsically nor extrinsically motivated–in other words, to be without intention or motivation for a particular behavior.

The Self-Regulation Questionnaires assess domain-specific individual differences in the types of motivation or regulation. That is, the questions concern the regulation of a particular behavior (e.g., exercising regularly) or class of behaviors (e.g., engaging in religious behaviors). The regulatory styles, while considered individual differences, are not “trait” concepts, for they are not general nor are they particularly stable. However, neither are they “state” concepts, for they are more stable than typical states which fluctuate easily as a function of time and place. The format for these questionnaires was introduced by Ryan and Connell (1989). Each questionnaire asks why the respondent does a behavior (or class of behaviors) and then provides several possible reasons that have been preselected to represent the different styles of regulation or motivation. The first two questionnaires were developed for late-elementary and middle school children, and concern school work (SRQ-Academic) and prosocial behavior (SRQ-Prosocial). Their validation is described in the Ryan and Connell (1989) article. Since then, several others have been developed that are intended for adults. The Treatment Self-Regulation Questionnaire has been widely used in the study of behavior change in health care settings. A validation article of the TSRQ was published by Levesque, Williams, Elliot, Pickering, Bodenhamer, and Finley (2007). The following SRQs are displayed in this section of the web site.

They are:

Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire (SRQ-A)

Prosocial Self-Regulation Questionnaire (SRQ-P)

Treatment Self-Regulation Questionnaire (TSRQ)

Learning Self-Regulation Questionnaire (SRQ-L)

Exercise Self-Regulation Questionnaire (SRQ-E)

Religion Self-Regulation Questionnaire (SRQ-R)

Friendship Self-Regulation Questionnaire (SRQ-F)

Scoring the Questionnaires. Each participant gets a score on each subscale by averaging responses to each of the items that make up that subscale–for example, the average of all items representing introjected regulation would represent the score for that subscale. However, different of the self-regulation questionnaires have different numbers of subscales, depending on the following four considerations. First, fully integrating a behavioral regulation is very unlikely to have occurred during childhood or adolescence. Thus, the scales used with children do not have an integrated subscale. Second, some behaviors are not interesting in their own right, and thus would not be intrinsically motivated. Thus, questionnaires to assess regulatory styles for such behaviors (e.g., stopping smoking) do not have an intrinsic motivation subscale. Third, the concept of amotivation is relevant to some research questions and not to others, so the concept is included in some of the scales but not others. Fourth, some of the questionnaires, rather than having separate regulatory-style subscales have only two subscales: controlled regulation and autonomous regulation. This is done when the research questions being addressed can be adequately addressed with just the two “super” categories of regulation. In these scales, items representing external and introjected regulation make up the controlled subscale, and items representing identified, integrated, and/or intrinsic make up the autonomous subscale.

Relative Autonomy Index. Finally, it is worth noting that the subscale scores on the SRQ, regardless of the number of subscales in the particular scale, can be combined to form a Relative Autonomy Index (RAI). For example, the SRQ-Academic has four subscales: external, introjected, identified, and intrinsic. To form the RAI, the external subscale is weighted -2, the introjected subscale is weighted -1, the identified subscale is weighted +1, and the intrinsic subscale is weighted +2. In other words, the controlled subscales are weighted negatively, and the autonomous subscales are weighted positively. The more controlled the regulatory style represented by a subscale, the larger its negative weight; and the more autonomous the regulatory style represented by a subscale, the larger its positive weight.

Summary of the Scoring Procedures. We have used the self-regulatory style values in three ways in different analyses. First, we use each subscale score separately in the analyses so that participants have a score for each style. Second, we compute a Relative Autonomy Index by weighting the subscale scores and combining them (see, e.g., Grolnick & Ryan, 1989). Third, we form a score for controlled regulation by averaging across external and introjected items, and a score for autonomous regulation by averaging across identified, integrated, and/or intrinsic items (e.g., Williams, Grow, Freedman, Ryan, & Deci, 1996).

It should be clear that new research questions may require slight adaptations of the existing questionnaire, or that new SRQs may need to be developed for new behaviors or domains. The important point is to remain true to the concept and to validate the adaptations fully. We are in agreement with Loevinger (1957) that psychological tests and surveys should serve as an aid in theoretical development, so any construct is in need of continual “bootstrapping.” Scales may be in need of adaptation as the research question changes.

Note: The SRQ in the political domain is available from Gaetan F. Losier (by e-mail: [email protected]). Kennon M. Sheldon, University of Missouri, Columbia (e-mail: [email protected]) has developed a comparable approach to assessing self-regulation for personal strivings. Contact them for further information.


  • Grolnick, W. S., & Ryan, R. M. (1989). Parent style associated with children’s self-regulation and competence in school. Journal of Educational Psychology, 81, 143-154.
  • Loevinger, J. (1957). Objective tests as instruments of psychological theory. Psychological Reports, Monograph Supplement, 9 (1, Serial No. 3).
  • Ryan, R. M., & Connell, J. P. (1989). Perceived locus of causality and internalization: Examining reasons for acting in two domains. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 749-761.
  • Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68-78.
  • Williams, G. C., Grow, V. M., Freedman, Z., Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (1996). Motivational predictors of weight-loss and weight-loss maintenance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 115-126.
  • Levesque, C. S., Williams, G. C., Elliot D., Pickering, M. A., Bodenhamer, B., & Finley, P. J (2007). Validating the theoretical structure of the treatment self-regulation questionnaire (TSRQ) across three different health behaviors. Health Education Research, 21, 691-702.
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  • Gordeeva, T. O., Sychev, O. A., Lynch, M. F. (2020). The construct validity of the Russian version of the Modified Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire (SRQ-A) among elementary and middle school children. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 13, 113 – 131. DOI: 10.11621/pir.2020.0308
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Perceived Autonomy Support: The Climate Questionnaires

Scale Description

One of the central tenets of SDT is that the quality of social contexts influences the motivation, performance, and well-being of individuals who operate within them. The theory uses the concept of autonomy support versus control to characterize the quality of social environments, hypothesizing that autonomy-supportive social contexts tend to facilitate self-determined motivation, healthy development, and optimal functioning.

In much of the SDT field research, we are concerned with the degree to which the social context is autonomy supportive for target individuals such as students, employees, patients, or athletes. These scales concern the degree to which the target individuals perceive people in positions of authority–their teachers, managers, health care providers, or coaches–to be autonomy supportive. Thus, whereas the Motivator’s Orientation Scales are complete by people in positions of authority about themselves, the Climate Questionnaires are completed by the individuals over whom they have authority. The Climate Questionnaires yield a score on a 7-point scale which indicates the degree to which health care providers, instructors, managers, or coaches are perceived to be autonomy supportive. Higher scores indicate greater perceived autonomy support. Each questionnaire can be used either in a long, 15-item version, or a short 5-item version. Across domains, the alpha coefficient of internal consistently is virtually always above 0.90. The short form may be slightly less but has always been good.

There are five Climate Questionnaires presented here, each on its own page.

General Causality Orientations Scale (GCOS)


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Scale Description

This scale assesses the strength of three different motivational orientations within an individual. These orientations, labeled Autonomy, Controlled, and Impersonal, are understood as relatively enduring aspects of personality, and each orientation is theorized to exist within each individual to some degree. There are three subscales to the measure, and a person gets a score on each subscale:

  • The Autonomy Orientation assesses the extent to which a person is oriented toward aspects of the environment that stimulate intrinsic motivation, are optimally challenging, and provide informational feedback. A person high in the autonomy orientation tends to display greater self-initiation, seek activities that are interesting and challenging, and take greater responsibility for his or her own behavior.
  • The Controlled Orientation assesses the extent to which a person is oriented toward being controlled by rewards, deadlines, structures, ego-involvements, and the directives of others. A person high on the controlled orientation is likely to be dependent on rewards or other controls, and may be more attuned to what others demand than to what they want for themselves. In the U.S., at least, a person high in the controlled orientation is likely to place extreme importance on wealth, fame, and other extrinsic factors.
  • The Impersonal Orientation assesses the extent to which a person believes that attaining desired outcomes is beyond his or her control and that achievement is largely a matter of luck or fate. People high on this orientation are likely to be anxious and to feel very ineffective. They have no sense of being able to affect outcomes or cope with demands or changes. They tend to be amotivated and to want things to be as they always were.

The GCOS (Deci & Ryan, 1985a) is available in two forms. The original scale that is well validated and has been widely used consists of 12 vignettes and 36 items. Each vignette describes a typical social or achievement oriented situation (e.g., applying for a job or interacting with a friend) and is followed by three types of responses–an autonomous, a controlled, and an impersonal type. Respondents indicate, on 7-point Likert-type scales, the extent to which each response is typical for them. Higher scores indicate higher amounts of the particular orientation represented by the response. Thus, the scale has three subscales–the autonomy, the controlled, and the impersonal subscales–and subscale scores are generated by summing the individual’s 12 responses on items corresponding to each subscale. A description of the 12-vignette version of the scale construction appears in Deci and Ryan (1985) along with data that support the instrument’s reliability and validity. For example, the scale has been shown to be reliable, with Cronbach alphas of about 0.75 and a test-retest coefficient of 0.74 over two months, and to correlate as expected with a variety of theoretically related constructs.

There is also a 17-vignette version of the scale (with 51 items). It has the original 12 vignettes and the original 36 items. However, 5 vignettes and 15 items (5 autonomy, 5 controlled, and 5 impersonal) have been added. The new vignettes and items are all about social-interactions because the original vignettes were heavily oriented toward achievement situations. The new vignettes with their items are scattered throughout, so the order of items is not the same in the two versions of the GCOS. The 17-vignette version has been used successfully in various studies (e.g., Hodgins, Koestner, & Duncan, 1996).

Causality Orientations Theory presents a perspective on individuals’ general motivational orientations that is complimentary to the more domain-specific approach of the Self-Regulation Questionnaires (e.g., Ryan & Connell, 1989) which considers reasons for engaging in particular behaviors such as doing one’s school work. According to the more general GCOS perspective, it is possible to assess an individual’s tendency to orient to and be guided by each of three general sources of behavioral regulation.

High autonomy orientations have, in past research, been associated with higher levels of self-esteem, ego development, and self-actualization (Deci & Ryan 1985) as well as greater integration in personality (Koestner, Bernieri, & Zuckerman, 1992). Cardiac-surgery patients high on the autonomy orientation were found to view their surgery more as a challenge and to have more positive post-operative attitudes, whereas those low on the autonomy orientation viewed their surgery more as a threat and had more negative post-operative attitudes (King, 1984). The controlled orientation, in contrast, has been related to the Type-A, coronary prone behavior pattern and to public self-consciousness (Deci & Ryan, 1985). Finally, the impersonal orientation has been found to predict higher levels of social anxiety, depression, and self-derogation (Deci & Ryan, 1985), and to discriminate restrictive anorexic patients from patients with other subtypes of eating disorders and from matched comparison subjects (Strauss & Ryan, 1987).

  • A French version of the scale (Vallerand, Blais, Lacouture, & Deci, 1987) is available from Dr. Robert J. Vallerand, University of Quebec at Montreal. Email: [email protected] 


12-vignette version
Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). The general causality orientations scale: Self-determination in personality. Journal of Research in Personality, 19,109-134.

17-vignette version
Hodgins, H. S., Koestner, R., & Duncan, N. (1996). On the compatibility of autonomy and relatedness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22,227-237.

Key Publications on GCOS

Ryan, R. M. & Deci, E. L. (2017). Self-determination theory: Basic psychological needs in motivation, development, and wellness. New York, NY: Guilford Publishing.

Ryan, R. M., & Connell, J. P. (1989). Perceived locus of causality and internalization: Examining reasons for acting in two domains. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 749-761.

Koestner, R., Bernieri, F., & Zuckerman, M. (1992). Self-determination and consistency between attitudes, traits, and behaviors. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 18, 52-59.

Validation Articles & Adaptations

Hagger, M. S., & Hamilton, K. (2020). General Causality Orientations in Self-Determination Theory: Meta-Analysis and Test of a Process Model.

Vallerand, R. J., Blais, M. R., Lacouture, Y., & Deci, E. L. (1987). L’echelle des orientations generales a la causalite: Validation canadienne francaise du General Causality Orientations Scale. Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, 19,1-15.

Cooper, S., Lavaysse, L. M., & Gard, D. E. (2015). Assessing motivation orientations in schizophrenia: Scale development and validation. Psychiatry Research, 225(1), 70–78.

Rose, E. A., Markland, D., & Parfitt, G. (2001). The development and initial validation of the Exercise Causality Orientations Scale. Journal of Sports Sciences, 19(6), 445-462.

Olesen, M. J. (2011). General causality orientations are distinct from but related to dispositional traits. Personality and Individual Differences, 52(4), 460-465.

Lei, W., Liu, K., Li, N., Liang, X, Xiang, B….Cheng, J. (2019). Validation of the Chinese version General Causality Orientation Scale‐Clinical Population and causality orientations assessing in major depressions. Asia-Pacific Psychiatry, 11(3), e12348

GCOS used in Research Areas

Physical Activity
Rose, E. A., Markland, D., & Parfitt, G. (2001). The development and initial validation of the Exercise Causality Orientations Scale. Journal of Sports Sciences, 19(6), 445-462.

King, K. B. (1984). Coping with cardiac surgery.  Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Rochester.

Williams, G. C., Grow, V. M., Freedman, Z. R., Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (1996). Motivational predictors of weight loss and weight-loss maintenance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70(1), 115-126.

Williams, G. C., & Deci, E. L. (1996). Internalization of biopsychosocial values by medical students: A test of self-determination theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70(4), 767–779.

Baard, P. P., Deci, E. L., Ryan, R. M. (2004). Intrinsic need satisfaction: A motivational basis of performance and well-being in two work settings. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 34, 2045-2068.

Lam, C. F., & Gurland, S. T. (2008). Self-determined work motivation predicts job outcomes, but what predicts self-determined work motivation? Journal of Research in Personality, 42(4), 1109-1115.

Knee, C. R., Patrick, H., Vietor, N. A., Nanayakkara, A., & Neighbors, C. (2002). Self-determination as growth motivation in romantic relationships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin28, 609-619.

Pro-Social Behavior
Gagné, M. (2003). The role of autonomy support and autonomy orientation in prosocial behavior engagement. Motivation and Emotion, 27, 199-223.

Weinstein, N., & Hodgins, H. S. (2009). The moderating role of autonomy and control on the benefits of written emotion expression. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin35, 351-364.

Strauss, J. & Ryan, R. M. (1987). Autonomy disturbances in subtypes of anorexia nervosa. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 96, 254-258.

Weinstein, N., Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2011). Motivational determinants of integrating positive and negative past identities. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 527-544.

Questionnaires – Institutional


Research on Self-Determination Theory has included laboratory experiments and field studies in several different settings. In order to do this research, we have developed many questionnaires to assess different constructs contained within the theory. There is a separate page for each questionnaire (or each family of questionnaires). Each questionnaire page will typically include not only the scale itself, but also a description of the scale, a key for the scale, and references for articles, which describe studies that used the scale. Each page also includes a Word file ,which you can download if you would like to use the questionnaire in your own research.

*** Please note that all questionnaires on this web site, developed for research on self-determination theory, are copyrighted. You are welcome to use the instruments for your own research projects. However, you may not use any of them for any commercial purposes without written permission to do so from Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan. (For all commercial requests, please email your inquiry to     [email protected])


Click on any questionnaire name below to access to the scale or set of questionnaires and other information.

General Causality Orientations Scale (GCOS)
This is an individual difference measure of people relatively enduring motivational orientations. It was developed for use with individuals who are at least 17 years of age. It assesses autonomous, controlled, and impersonal causality (motivational) orientations.

Perceived Autonomy-Supportive Climate Questionnaires
This is a family of questionnaires that assesses the perceptions of individuals about the degree to which a particular social context is autonomy supportive versus controlling. Included are the health care climate (HCCQ); the learning climate (LCQ); the work climate (WCQ); and the sports climate (SCQ).

Self-Regulation Questionnaires (SRQ)
This is a family of questionnaires that assesses the degree to which an individual’s motivation for a particular behavior or behavioral domain tends to be relatively autonomous versus relatively controlled. It includes academic (for children), prosocial, health care, learning (for adults), gymnastics/exercise, religion, and friendship.

Perceived Competence Scale (PCS)
This is a family of very short questionnaires that assess how competent people perceive themselves to be with respect to a particular behavior or behavioral domain. SDT emphasizes that it is important for individuals to feel both autonomous and competent with respect to a behavior or behavioral domain in order to display optimal motivation, performance and well-being. PCS is often used in conjunction with the SRQ. Because the PCS pertains to particular behaviors or behavioral domains, it can be easily adapted to study additional behaviors or behavioral domains.

Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI)
The IMI was developed to assess participants’ subjective experience related to experimental tasks. Specifically, it is used in intrinsic motivation laboratory experiments in which participants have worked on an interesting activity within some experimental condition, and the IMI assesses their levels of interest/enjoyment; perceived competence; effort; value/usefulness; felt pressure and tension; and perceived choice while they were performing the activity.

Health Care SDT Packet (HC-SDT)
The HC-SDT is a set of questionnaires related to assessing three SDT constructs as they relate four health-relevant behaviors. The behaviors are smoking cessation, diet improvement, exercising regularly, and drinking responsibly. The SDT constructs for each behavior are self-regulation (SRQ), perceived competence (PCS), and the perceived autonomy supportiveness of the health care climate (HCCQ).

Aspirations Index (AI)
The AI assesses people’s intrinsic and extrinsic life goals or aspirations. That is, it measures the degree to which people value seven broad goal contents–wealth, fame, image, personal growth, relationships, community contribution, and health. The instrument is use in research relating the content of people’s goals to constructs such as mental health and risk behaviors.

Basic Psychological Needs Scale (BPNS)
Self-determination theory posits three universal psychological needs and suggests that these must be ongoingly satisfied for people to maintain optimal performance and well-being. The BPNS is a set of questionnaires that assess the degree to which people feel satisfaction of these three needs. There is a general form, as well as domain specific forms for work and relationships.

Self-Determination Scale (SDS)
This short scale addresses the degree to which adults tend to be self-determined in their lives. It includes two five-item subscales: one that assesses the degree to which feel a sense of choice in their lives; and one that assesses the degree to which they feel like themselves, that their emotions feel like an integral part of them.

Subjective Vitality Scale (VS)
This measures the extent to which people vital, energized, and alive. There is both a state version and a trait version. The original scale had 7 items, but a shorter version with just 4 items has recently been validated.

Motivators’ Orientation
This set of questionnaires concerns the degree to which individuals in supervisory capacities tend to be autonomy supportive versus controlling. One questionnaire, called the Problems in Schools Questionnaire, assesses the degree to which teachers tend to be autonomy supportive versus controlling; the other, called the Problems at Work Questionnaire, assesses the degree to which managers in the workplace tend to be autonomy supportive versus controlling. Whereas, the Perceived Autonomy-Supportive Climate Questionnaires measure the perceptions of, say, students and subordinates about the autonomy supportiveness of their teachers and managers, the Motivators’ Orientation questionnaires are completed by the teachers or managers themselves about their own style of motivating others (the students or subordinates).

Perceptions of Parents
These questionnaires assess children’s perceptions of the degree to which their parents are autonomy supportive versus contolling in their approach to parenting. There are two versions of this questionnaire: one for late elementary and middle school children, and the other for college-aged children.

Christian Religious Internalization Scale (CRIS)
This scale is also referred to as the Religion Self-Regulation Questionnaire (SRQ-R). It appears within the Self-Regulation Questionnaires section of this web site. You can visit the CRIS link at the beginning of this paragraph and that will take you to the actual scale. Alternatively, you can go to the Self-Regulation Questionnaires(SRQ) section, which will take you to an overview of the Self-Regulation family of questionnaires, along with scoring information. From there, you can go to the Religion Self-Regulation Questionnaire subsection.

Treatment Motivation Questionnaire (TMQ)
This scale is a variant of the Treatment Self-Regulation Question (TSRQ) which preceded the TSRQ. The TMQ was developed for research in an alcohol treatment program (Ryan, Plant, & O’Malley, 1995) and has also been used in a study of methadone treatment. The scale appears within the Treatment Self-Regulation Questionnaire page of this web site, which is within the Self-Regulation Questionnaires (SRQ) section. You can visit the TMQ link at the beginning of this paragraph and it will put you in the TSRQ section; then you just scroll down until you come to the TMQ. Alternatively, you can go to the Self-Regulation Questionnaires (SRQ) section, which will take you to an overview of the Self-Regulation family of questionnaires. From there, you can go to the Treatment Self-Regulation Questionnaire subsection and scroll down to reach the TMQ.

Motives for Physical Activity Measure (MPAM-R)
The MPAM-R is concerned with the people’s motives for participating in physical activities such as exercise, aerobics, etc. Five motives are assessed; fitness, appearance, competance, enjoyment, and social. The scale is a revision of an earlier measure by the same name.

Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS)
The MAAS is a measure of receptive awareness of and attention to present-moment events and experience. The scale has been used in research pertaining to emotional, cognitive, behavioral, physical health, and interpersonal processes.

Problems in Schools Questionnaire: Adults’ Orientation toward Control (PIS)
This questionnaire assesses whether teachers and parents are oriented toward supporting the autonomy versus controlling behavior of children. You can get to this questionnaire by clicking the link at the beginning of this paragraph. Alternatively, you can go to the Motivators’ Orientations questionnaires section, which will give you an overview of this family of questionnaires, along with scoring information. From there, you can go to the Problems in Schools Questionnaire subsection.