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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? »

2016 SDT Conference: Discounted rates announced for the Empress Victoria Hotel

2016 SDT Conference: Discounted rates announced for the Empress Victoria Hotel

The 2016 Self-Determination Theory Conference June 2-5, 2016 Pre-Conferences on June 1st We are pleased to announce the Fairmont Empress as the conference host...

 
New York Times: Lawyers With Lowest Pay Report More Happiness

New York Times: Lawyers With Lowest Pay Report More Happiness

May 13th 2015.The New York Times cites self-determination theory in their article, Lawyers with Lowest Pay Report More Happiness. “Law students are famous for...

 
ISBNPA 2015 Pre-Conference Event

ISBNPA 2015 Pre-Conference Event

    Applying Self-Determination Theory to      Health-Behavior Interventions     June 2, 2015   9:00am to 5:00pm     Edinburgh, Scotland     International...

 
New York Times Op-Ed: Love and Merit

New York Times Op-Ed: Love and Merit

April 25th 2015. In an op-ed for The New York Times,  columnist David Brooks references the work of SDT scholars Avi Assor, Guy Roth and Ed Deci in a post regarding...

 
JUST RELEASED: “Handbook of Mindfulness” by Brown, Creswell & Ryan

JUST RELEASED: “Handbook of Mindfulness” by Brown, Creswell & Ryan

Handbook of Mindfulness Theory, Research, and Practice Edited by Kirk Warren Brown, J. David Creswell, and Richard M. Ryan “Finally, the most comprehensive work...