Self-determination theory (SDT) is a theory of motivation. This entry explains the theory in terms of the basic tenets that define intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. It also describes the influencing factors of these different types of motivation and discusses their usefulness in the study of health communication.

This theory explains variations in the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations behind people's choices. Developed by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan over the course of almost 30 years, the theory began as a response to the now-outdated idea that people are solely motivated by environmental reinforcements or punishments. SDT maintains that individuals may feel rewarded for doing some activities by simply doing them, without the need for external rewards or punishment threats. The theory's name derives from the two assumptions ...

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