The general causality orientations scale: Self-determination in personality

Edward L. Deci, Richard M. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2175 Scopus citations


This paper describes the development and validation of a general causality orientations scale. Causality orientations are conceptualized as relatively enduring aspects of people that characterize the source of initiation and regulation, and thus the degree of self-determination, of their behavior. Three orientations-autonomy, control, and impersonal-are measured by the three subscales of the instrument. Individuals are given a score on each orientation, thus allowing the use of the theoretically appropriate subscale (or, in some cases, a combination of subscales) to predict affects, cognitions, and behaviors. The scale was shown to have internal consistency and temporal stability. The orientations were shown to fit appropriately into a nomological network of constructs and to relate to various behaviors that were hypothesized to be theoretically relevant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-134
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1985


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