High-level ab initio molecular orbital theory calculations are used to identify the origin of the remarkably high inhibition stoichiometric factors exhibited by dialkylamine-based radical-trapping antioxidants. We have calculated the free energy barriers and reaction energies at 25, 80, and 260 °C in the gas phase and in aqueous solution for a broad range of reactions that might, potentially, be involved in amine/nitroxide cycling, as well as several novel pathways proposed as part of the present work, including that of N-alkyl hindered amine light stabilizer activation. We find that most of the literature nitroxide regeneration cycles should be discarded on either kinetic or thermodynamic grounds; some are even inconsistent with existing experimental observations. We therefore propose a new mechanistic cycle that relies on abstraction of a β-hydrogen atom from an alkoxyamine (R 1R 2NOCHR 3R 4). Our results suggest that this cycle is energetically feasible for a range of substrates and provides an explanation for previously misinterpreted or unexplained experimental results. We also explore alternative mechanisms for amine/nitroxide cycling for cases where the alkoxyamines do not possess an abstractable β-hydrogen.