Table 1

ACT Theories, Theoretical Constructs, and Essential Elements.


Theoretical construct and definition

ACT Essential Element

Key Word


Autonomy supportive environment-contributes to feelings of agency or being "in control" ("internal locus of causation")

Participants have choices

Input and Choice

Participants provide meaningful input, have influence on what happens in program

Participants know what is expected of them

Successful and confident (in program)


Competence supportive environment-contributes to being able to effectively interact with ones environment and get wanted effects and outcomes

Participants feel capable and able to participate successfully

Participants are engaged and involved in program

Engaged and Interact


Relatedness supportive environment-contributes to feelings of connectedness and being accepted by significant others

Participants feel that they belong and are part of the group


Participants feel like they are a valued member of group

Participants get along with each other, show respect for each other (positive interactions)



Intrinsic motivation for physical activity

Participants enjoy being in the program and being physically active

Fun & Enjoyment

Participants are physically active during the PA component of the program

Being physically active


Self efficacy (person factor)-confidence in ones ability to successfully engage in a behavior

Participants feel confident that they can be physically active in the program, and at home

Successful onfident (at home)


Behavioral skills (behavioral factor)-skills or capability to self-regulate behavior (self-monitoring, group goal setting, support seeking)

Participants have specific behavioral skills that enable them to be physically active at home

Life skills


Social support (environmental factor)-instrumental and/or emotional support from peers and/or family members to engage in a specific activity

Participants have the social support needed to be physically active at home



Self concept/motivation- Participants have a self-concept that includes being physically active

Students participate in strategic self presentation


Note: SDT = Self-Determination Theory; SCT = Social Cognitive Theory; ACT = Active by Choice Today

Wilson et al. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2009 6:79   doi:10.1186/1479-5868-6-79

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