Cognitions influence recovery from activity limitations. In this study we aimed to independently test, compare and combine the common sense self-regulation model (CS-SRM) and social cognitive theory (SCT) in predicting recovery from activity limitations due to acute injury. Measures were gathered at two time points 5-6 weeks apart. The sample consisted of 146 university students (Mean age: 21.86, SD: 4.83, 62% female) with a heterogeneous range of injuries that limited their participation in physical activity. The dependent variable was recovery from activity limitations (Physical Functioning - Short Form-36). The predictor variables were measured using the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire and SCT items designed according to theoretical recommendations. Time-line (TL) and self-efficacy (SE) were significant predictors of recovery in a multivariate analysis, controlling for reported pain at Time 1. A combined model including the best predictors from both models, TL (beta = -0.25, p < 0.05, R(2) change = 0.17, p < 0.01) and SE (beta =0.31, p < 0.05, R(2) change = 0.05, p < 0.05), accounted for a significant amount of the variance in recovery from activity limitations. A combination of key variables from both models may be particularly useful for understanding the cognitive factors that influence recovery from activity limitations.