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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of the five most prominent social cognitive theories applied to understand exercise and physical activity: the theory of planned behavior, social cognitive theory, the transtheoretical model of behavior change, self-determination theory, and the health belief model/protection motivation theory. Each theory is reviewed in terms of its history, concepts, and application to physical activity. Relevant advances and future directions conclude each section. All theories have shown some utility in explaining physical activity, but intervention studies employing these models in a mediation capacity remain elusive. Still, it is apparent that the health belief model/protection motivation theory may have the least utility for continued application in the physical activity domain.

Keywords: social cognition, theory, physical activity, exercise, future directions

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