Motivational interviewing and self-determination theory

David Markland, Richard M. Ryan, Vannessa Jayne Tobin, Stephen Rollnick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

486 Scopus citations


Motivational interviewing has become widely adopted as a counseling style for promoting behavior change; however, as yet it lacks a coherent theoretical framework for understanding its processes and efficacy. This article proposes that self-determination theory (SDT) can offer such a framework. The principles of motivational interviewing and SDT are outlined and the parallels between them are drawn out. We show how both motivational interviewing and SDT are based on the assumption that humans have an innate tendency for personal growth toward psychological integration, and that motivational interviewing provides the social-environmental facilitating factors suggested by SDT to promote this tendency. We propose that adopting an SDT perspective could help in furthering our understanding of the psychological processes involved in motivational interviewing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-831
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2005


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