Social cognitive theory

Authored by: Jeffrey J. Martin , Michelle D. Guerrero

Routledge Handbook of Adapted Physical Education

Print publication date:  January  2020
Online publication date:  January  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367146115
eBook ISBN: 9780429052675
Adobe ISBN:


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In the current chapter, we review and criticize social cognitive theory (SCT) and suggest future research using SCT in adapted physical education (APE). More specifically, we discuss SCT as a meta-theory and how it minimizes the role of the environment, biology, and affect in physical activity (PA). Within SCT, we specifically examine self-efficacy theory, the theory of planned behavior, self-determination theory, and achievement goal theory. Future research directions are grounded in how to use each of the above four theories and simultaneously account for their weaknesses. Hence, APE researchers have a direction and path to extend and go beyond traditional SCT research. We end by highlighting affective–reflective theory (ART) that helps address some of the shortcomings of SCTs by specifically emphasizing the role of affect in PA behavior (Brand & Ekkekakis, 2017).

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