General Causality Orientation Scale (Deci & Ryan, 1985)

On the following pages you will find a series of vignettes. Each one describes an incident and lists three ways of responding to it. Please read each vignette and then consider the responses in turn. Think of each response option in terms of how likely it is that you would respond in that way. We all respond in a variety of ways to situations, and probably each response is at least slightly likely for you. If it is very unlikely that you would respond the way described in a given response, you select numbers 1 or 2. If it is moderately likely, you would respond in the mid range of numbers; and if it is very likely that you would respond as described, you would select number 6 or 7. You should select one number for each of the three responses on each vignette. Below is a sample item. The actual items begin on the next page.

Use this scale and mark your response in the space beside each statement

1 . . . . . 2 . . . . . 3 . . . . . 4 . . . . . 5 . . . . . 6 . . . . . 7

very unlikely moderately likely very likely

S A M P L E   I T E M

You are discussing politics with a friend and find yourself in sharp disagreement. It is likely that you would:

a. ____ Press forward with your viewpoint and try to get him/her to understand it.

b. ____ Change the topic since you would feel unable to make your point understood.

c. ____ Try to understand your friend’s position to figure out why you disagree.


 Using this scale and mark your response beside each statement

1 . . . . . 2 . . . . . 3 . . . . . 4 . . . . . 5 . . . . . 6 . . . . . 7

very  unlikely         moderately likely                very likely

1) You have been offered a new position in a company where you have worked for some time. The
     first question that is likely to come to mind is :

a. ____ What if I cannot live up to the new responsibility?

b. ____ Will I make more at this position?

c. ____ I wonder if the new work will be interesting?

2) You have a school age daughter. On parents’ night the teacher tells you that tour daughter is doing
     poorly and does not seem involved in the work. You are likely to:

a. ____ Talk it over with your daughter to understand further what the problem is.

b. ____ Scold her and hope she does better.

c. ____ Make sure she does the assignments, because she should be working harder.

3) You had a job interview several weeks ago. In the mail you received a form letter which states that
     the position has been filled. It’s likely that you might think:

a. ____ It’s not what you know, but whom you know.

b. ____ I’m probably not good enough for the job.

c. ____ Somehow they didn’t see my qualifications as matching their needs.

4) You are a plant supervisor and have been charged with the task of allotting coffee breaks to three
     workers who cant not all break at once. You would likely handle this by:

a. ____ Telling the three workers thr situation and having them work with you on the schedule.

b. ____ Simply assigns the times that each can break to avoid any problems.

c. ____ Find out from someone in authority what to do or do what was done in the past.

5) A close friend of yours has been moody lately, and a couple of times has become very angry with
     you over "nothing". You  might:

a. ____ Share your observations with him and try to find out what is going on for him.

b. ____ Ignore it because there’s not much you can do about it anyway.

c. ____ Tell him that you’re willing to spend time together if and only if he makes more effort to control

6) You have just received the results of a test you took, and you discovered that you did very poorly.
     Your initial reaction is likely to be:

a. ____ "I can’t do anything right" and feel sad.

b. ____ "I wonder how it is I did so poorly", and feel disappointed.

c. ____ "That stupid test doesn’t show anything", and feel angry.

7) You have been invited to a large party where you know very few people. As you look forward to
     this evening you would likely expect that:

a. ____ You’ll try to fit in with whatever is happening in order to have a good time and not look bad.

b. ____ You’ll find some people with whom you can relate.

c. ____ You’ll probably feel somewhat isolated and unnoticed.

8) You are asked to plan a picnic for yourself and your fellow employees. Your style for approaching
     this project could most  likely be characterized as:

a. _____ Take charge: that is, you would make most of the major decisions.

b. ____ Follow precedent: you’re not really up to the task so you’d do it the way it’s been done

c. ____ Seek participation: get input from others who want to make them before you make the final

9) Recently a position opened up at your place of work that could have meant a promotion for you.
     However, a person you work with was offered the job rather than you. In evaluation the situation,
     you are likely to thing:

a. ____ You didn’t really expect the job; you frequently get passed over.

b. ____ The other person probably "did the right things" politically to get the job.

c. ____ You would probably take a look at factors in your own performance that lead you to be
             passed over.

10) You are embarking on a new career. The most important consideration is likely to be:

a. ____ Whether you can do the work without getting in over your head.

b.____ How interested you are in that kind of work.

c.____ Whether there are good possibilities for advancement.

11) A woman who works for you has generally done an adequate job. However, for the past two weeks her work 
        has not been up to par and she appears to be less actively interested in her work. Your reaction is likely to be:

a. ____ Tell her that her work is below what is expected and that she should start working harder.

b. ____ Ask her about the problem and let her know you are available to help work it out.

c. ____ It’s hard to know what to do to get her straightened out.

12) Your company has promoted you to a position in a city far from your present location. As you think about the move you 
       would probably:

a. ____ Feel interested in the new challenge and a little nervous at the same time.

b. ____ Feel excited about the higher status and salary that is involved.

c. ____ Feel stressed and anxious about the upcoming changes.

Sex: Male ____ Female ____ Age: ______

                                                End of Questionnaire

                                                        Thank you

Deci & Ryan (1985) The General Causality Orientation Scale: Self Determination in Personality. Journal of Research in Personality, 19, 109-134