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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? »

Dutch Medical Education Association Awards Best Thesis to SDT Faculty

Dutch Medical Education Association Awards Best Thesis to SDT Faculty

Rashmi Kusurkar, MD, PhD Assistant Professor and Head of Research in Education VU University Medical Center One of SDT’s faculty, Dr. Rashmi Kusurkar, was...

 
Mark Your 2016 Calendars for the Next SDT Conference!

Mark Your 2016 Calendars for the Next SDT Conference!

We are pleased to announce that the 6th Self-Determination Theory Conference will be taking place June 2-5, 2016 in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. ...

 
Global Guru’s names Ed Deci and Rich Ryan as two of the “Worlds Top 30 Education Professionals for 2014.”

Global Guru’s names Ed Deci and Rich Ryan as two of the “Worlds Top 30 Education Professionals for 2014.”

On July 29, 2014, Edward Deci and Richard Ryan were honored with impressive rankings of Numbers 14 and 22 in the Education category for Global Gurus. Congratulations...

 
Oxford Handbook of Work Engagement, Motivation, & Self-Determination Theory

Oxford Handbook of Work Engagement, Motivation, & Self-Determination Theory

NEWLY RELEASED in May 2014…The Oxford Handbook of Work Motivation, Engagement, and Self-Determination Theory is edited by SDT Faculty, Marylène Gagné and...