Self-Determination Theory: Basic Psychological Needs in Motivation, Development, and Wellness (Hardback) book cover

Self-Determination Theory

Basic Psychological Needs in Motivation, Development, and Wellness

By Richard M. Ryan, Edward L. Deci

© 2017 – Guilford Press

740 pages

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Self-determination theory (SDT) provides a framework for understanding the factors that promote motivation and healthy psychological and behavioral functioning. In this authoritative work, the codevelopers of the theory comprehensively examine SDT's conceptual underpinnings (including its six mini-theories), empirical evidence base, and practical applications across the lifespan. The volume synthesizes a vast body of research on how supporting--or thwarting--people's basic needs for competence, relatedness, and autonomy affects their development and well-being. Chapters cover implications for practice and policy in education, health care, psychotherapy, sport, and the workplace.


"This valuable volume presents a synthesis of four decades of systematic work within one of the most comprehensive, profound research programs on human motivation in the history of psychology. It is a true milestone in motivational research, as rich in conceptual insights as it is in exciting findings. The book offers a formidable set of answers as to why people do what they do, and with what consequences. An assured and instant classic!"--Arie W. Kruglanski, PhD, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park

"This book is a tour-de-force exposition of the motivational nutrients needed for optimal human growth and well-being. It is global in scope, while also replete with applications to specific contexts. SDT and its mini-theories are characterized by astonishing scholarly vitality and depth of thought, combined with unrivaled relevance for everyday life at all levels of society. Taken as a whole, the advances summarized in this volume have transformed what we know about human behavior and development.”--Carol D. Ryff, PhD, Hilldale Professor of Psychology, University of Wisconsin–Madison

"Ryan and Deci have produced a treasure for those who want to understand the basis of human motivation and learn how to improve societies. What a resource! The book carefully explains SDT and the research supporting it, including the role of universal needs, intrinsic motivation, and growth. Importantly, the volume addresses how we can use SDT to improve schools, health care, family life, psychotherapy, work, sports--nearly every aspect of social life. It is no wonder that the SDT movement is spreading around the globe."--Ed Diener, PhD, Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia and University of Utah

"A masterful, comprehensive explication of the tenets of SDT. The authors demonstrate a keen sense of history and respect for their intellectual ancestors, stepping only lightly on a few theoretical toes. The theoretical claims that comprise SDT are coherently documented by a plethora of well-crafted and ingenious laboratory and real-world research studies. A major contribution is the compelling practical application of the theory to numerous life domains, including classroom teaching, the workplace, psychotherapy, and others. There is great wisdom in these applications. The breadth of topics will make this volume attractive to researchers, clinicians, educators, and sports and organizational psychologists."--Susan Harter, PhD, John Evans Professor of Psychology (Emerita), University of Denver

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
1. Self-Determination Theory: An Introduction and Overview
II. Philosophical and Historical Considerations
2. Organismic Principles: Historical Perspectives on Development and Integration in Living Entities
3. Human Autonomy: Philosophical Perspectives and the Phenomenology of Self
4. Psychological Needs: Varied Concepts and a Preliminary Description of Self-Determination Theory’s Approach
5. A Brief History of Intrinsic Motivation
III. The Six Mini-Theories of Self-Determination Theory
6. Cognitive Evaluation Theory, Part I: The Effects of Rewards, Feedback, and Other External Events on Intrinsic Motivation
7. Cognitive Evaluation Theory, Part II: Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Processes Affecting Intrinsic Motivation
8. Organismic Integration Theory: Internalization and the Differentiation of Extrinsic Motivation
9. Causality Orientations Theory: Individual Differences in, and Priming of, Motivational Orientations
10. Basic Psychological Needs Theory: Satisfaction and Frustration of Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness in Relation to Psychological Wellness and Illness
11. Goal Contents Theory: Aspirations, Life Goals, and Their Varied Consequences
12. Relationships Motivation Theory: The Self in Close Relationships
IV. Motivation and Human Development in Families, Schools, and Societies
13. Parenting and the Facilitation of Autonomy and Well-Being in Development
14. Schools as Contexts for Learning and Social Development
15. Identity Development, Self-Esteem, and Authenticity
16. Development, Psychological Needs, and Psychopathology
V. The Application and Practice of Self-Determination Theory in Multiple Domains
17. Psychotherapy and Behavior Change: Creating Facilitating Environments
18. Health Care and Patient Need Satisfaction: Supporting Maintained Health Behavior Change
19. Sport, Physical Activity, and Physical Education
20. Motivation and Need Satisfaction in Video Games and Virtual Environments
21. Work and Organizations: Promoting Wellness and Productivity
VI. Basic Psychological Needs in Pervasive Social Contexts
22. Pervasive Social Influences, Part I: Cultural Contexts
23. Pervasive Social Influences, Part II: Economic and Political Systems
24. On Basic Needs and Human Natures: Altruism, Aggression, and the Bright and Dark Sides of Human Motivation
A Very Brief Epilogue
Author Index
Subject Index

About the Authors

Richard M. Ryan, PhD, is Research Professor at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education at Australian Catholic University, and Professor of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology at the University of Rochester. Dr. Ryan is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the American Educational Research Association, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. He received distinguished career awards from the International Society for Self and Identity and the International Network on Personal Meaning, as well as a Shavelson Distinguished Researcher Award, presented by the International Global SELF Research Centre, among other honors. An honorary member of the German Psychological Society and the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Thessaly in Greece, he is also a recipient of a James McKeen Cattell Fund Fellowship and a Leverhulme Fellowship. Dr. Ryan has also been a visiting professor at the National Institute of Education in Singapore, the University of Bath in England, and the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, Germany.

Edward L. Deci, PhD, is the Helen F. and Fred H. Gowen Professor in the Social Sciences at the University of Rochester, with secondary appointments at the University College of Southeast Norway and Australian Catholic University. Dr. Deci is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychological Association, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, among other associations. His numerous honors include a distinguished scholar award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, a lifetime achievement award from the International Society for Self and Identity, and a distinguished scientific contribution award from the Positive Psychology Network. He was named honorary president of the Canadian Psychological Association and is a recipient of a James McKeen Cattell Fund Fellowship.

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