A theory of motivation concerned with the development and functioning of personality within social contexts, including sport. The theory focuses on the degree to which human behaviours are made by personal choice. It assumes that people are active organisms with innate tendencies toward psychological growth and development, and that they strive to master challenges and to integrate experiences into a coherent sense of self. According to the theory, these innate tendencies do not operate automatically, but depend on the extent to which the social context provides basic psychological needs. If the social environment satisfies the needs, a person will function effectively and develop in a healthy way, but to the extent the needs are thwarted, a person will function sub-optimally and will show evidence of ill-being. Self-determination theory incorporates four other theories: cognitive evaluation theory, organismic integration theory, causality orientations theory and basic needs theory.
Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.