The Self-Regulation Questionnaires

Purpose: To assess individual differences in the types of motivation or regulation.


Short description: 

The Concepts of Self-Regulation. SDT differentiates types of behavioral regulation in terms of the degree to which they represent autonomous or self-determined (versus controlled) functioning. Intrinsic motivation is the prototype of autonomous activity; when people are intrinsically motivated, they are by definition self-determined. Extrinsically motivated activity, in contrast, is often more controlled (i.e., less autonomous). However, SDT differentiates types of extrinsic motivation in terms of the degree to which it has been internalized, suggesting that the more fully it is internalized and integrated with one’s self, the more it will be the basis for autonomous behavior.

There are four different types of behavioral regulation, defined in terms of the degree to which the regulation of an extrinsically motivated activity has been internalized and integrated. They are external regulation, introjected regulation, identified regulation, and integrated regulation, in order from the least to the most fully internalized (see Ryan & Deci, 2000, for more on this).

  • Introjection refers to taking in a regulation but not accepting it as one’s own; identification refers to accepting the value of the activity as personally important, and integration refers to integrating that identification with other aspects of one’s self.
  • External and introjected regulation are considered relatively controlled forms of extrinsic motivation, whereas identified and integrated regulation are considered relatively autonomous.
  • Finally, within SDT there is a concept of Amotivation, which means to be neither intrinsically nor extrinsically motivated–in other words, to be without intention or motivation for a particular behavior.

The Self-Regulation Questionnaires assesses domain-specific individual differences in the types of motivation or regulation. That is, the questions concern the regulation of a particular behavior (e.g., exercising regularly) or class of behaviors (e.g., engaging in religious behaviors). The regulatory styles, while considered individual differences, are not “trait” concepts, for they are not general nor are they particularly stable. But neither are they “state” concepts, for they are more stable than typical states which fluctuate easily as a function of time and place. The format for these questionnaires was introduced by Ryan and Connell (1989). Each questionnaire asks why the respondent does a behavior (or class of behaviors) and then provides several possible reasons that have been preselected to represent the different styles of regulation or motivation.

Sample questions: 

Instructions: Please answer the following questions by circling the response that best describes how you are (1-5 Likert scale. 1=strongly disagree, 3=unsure or uncertain, 5=strongly agree). There are no right or wrong answers. Work quickly and don’t think too long about your answers.

Sample questions:

  • I usually keep track of my progress toward my goals
  • I  doubt I could change even if I wanted to.
  • I have trouble following through with things once I’ve made up my mind to do something.

Paid or free: Free

Reliability/validity measures: Not available

Setting: Institutions (formal or informal)


  • Institutions
  • Teachers
  • Learners

Type of measurement: Questionnaire

Possible uses:

  • Institutions to determine what types of learners they attract
  • Instructors to better cater to the needs of their students

Ease of implementation:

  • Easy. 63 questions, est. 50 min.


  • Easy to implement
  • Provides quick summary
  • Could provide good impetus for more in-depth study


  • Not much depth
  • Questions themselves contain assumptions

Studies this has been used in: Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68-78.


This entry was posted in Autonomy, Intrinsic motivation, Motivation, Questionnaire, Self-determination theory, Self-regulation. Bookmark the permalink.

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