Self-efficacy, according to psychologist Albert Bandura, who originally proposed the concept, is a personal judgment of how well or poorly a person is able to cope with a given situation based on the skills they have and the circumstances they face.
Self-efficacy affects every area of human endeavor. By determining the beliefs a person holds regarding their power to affect situations, self-efficacy strongly influences both the power a person actually has to face challenges competently and the choices a person is most likely to make. These effects are particularly apparent, and compelling, with regard to investment behaviors such as in health,education, and agriculture.
A strong sense of self-efficacy promotes human accomplishment and personal well-being. A person with high self-efficacy views challenges as things that are supposed to be mastered rather than threats to avoid. These people are able to recover from failure faster and are more likely to attribute failure to a lack of effort. They approach threatening situations with the belief that they can control them. These things have been linked to lower levels of stress and a lower vulnerability to depression.
In contrast, people with a low sense of self-efficacy view difficult tasks as personal threats and shy away from them. Difficult tasks lead them to look at the skills they lack rather than the ones they have. It is easy for them to lose faith in their own abilities after a failure. Low self-efficacy can be linked to higher levels of stress and depression.
Psychologist Albert Bandura has defined self-efficacy as one's belief in one's ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task. One's sense of self-efficacy can play a major role in how one approaches goals, tasks, and challenges.The theory of self-efficacy lies at the center of Bandura's social cognitive theory, which emphasizes the role of observational learning and social experience in the development of personality. The main concept in social cognitive theory is that an individual's actions and reactions, including social behaviors and cognitive processes, in almost every situation are influenced by the actions that individual has observed in others. Because self-efficacy is developed from external experiences and self-perception and is influential in determining the outcome of many events, it is an important aspect of social cognitive theory. Self-efficacy represents the personal perception of external social factors. According to Bandura's theory, people with high self-efficacy—that is, those who believe they can perform well—are more likely to view difficult tasks as something to be mastered rather than something to be avoided.
Social learning theory describes the acquisition of skills that are developed exclusively or primarily within a social group. Social learning depends on how individuals either succeed or fail at dynamic interactions within groups, and promotes the development of individual emotional and practical skills as well as accurate perception of self and acceptance of others. According to this theory, people learn from one another through observation, imitation, and modeling. Self-efficacy reflects an individual's understanding of what skills he/she can offer in a group setting.
Self-concept theory seeks to explain how people perceive and interpret their own existence from clues they receive from external sources, focusing on how these impressions are organized and how they are active throughout life. Successes and failures are closely related to the ways in which people have learned to view themselves and their relationships with others. This theory describes self-concept as learned (i.e., not present at birth); organized (in the way it is applied to the self); and dynamic (i.e., ever-changing, and not fixed at a certain age).
Attribution theory focuses on how people attribute events and how those beliefs interact with self-perception. Attribution theory defines three major elements of cause:
According to Bandura, the most effective way to build self-efficacy is to engage in mastery experiences.These mastery experiences can be defined as a personal experience of success. Achieving difficult goals in the face of adversity helps build confidence and strengthen perseverance.
Another source of self-efficacy is through vicarious experiences of social models. Seeing someone, who you view as similar to yourself, succeed at something difficult can motivate you to believe that you have the skills necessary to achieve a similar goal. However, the inverse of the previous statement is true as well. Seeing someone fail at a task can lead to doubt in personal skills and abilities. It is important to note that “The greater the assumed similarity, the more persuasive are the models' successes and failures.”
A third source of self-efficacy is found through strengthening the belief that one has the ability to succeed. Those who are positively persuaded that they have the ability to complete a given task show a greater and more sustained effort to complete a task. It also lowers the effect of self-doubt in a person. However, it is important to remember that those who are doing the encouraging, put the person in a situation where success is more often. If they are put in a situation prematurely with no hope of any success, it can undermine self-efficacy.
People generally avoid tasks where self-efficacy is low, but undertake tasks where self-efficacy is high. When self-efficacy is significantly beyond actual ability, it leads to an overestimation of the ability to complete tasks. On the other hand, when self-efficacy is significantly lower than actual ability, it discourages growth and skill development. Research shows that the optimum level of self-efficacy is slightly above ability; in this situation, people are most encouraged to tackle challenging tasks and gain experience.Self-efficacy is made of dimensions like magnitude, strength, and generality to explain how one believes they will perform on a specific task.
High self-efficacy can affect motivation in both positive and negative ways. In general, people with high self-efficacy are more likely to make efforts to complete a task, and to persist longer in those efforts, than those with low self-efficacy.The stronger the self-efficacy or mastery expectations, the more active the efforts.
A negative effect of low self-efficacy is that it can lead to a state of learned helplessness. Learned helplessness was studied by Martin Seligman in an experiment in which shocks were applied to animals. Through the experiment, it was discovered that the animals placed in a cage where they could escape shocks by moving to a different part of the cage did not attempt to move if they had formerly been placed in a cage in which escape from the shocks was not possible. Low self-efficacy can lead to this state in which it is believed that no amount of effort will make a difference in the success of the task at hand.
Self-efficacy theory has been embraced by management scholars and practitioners because of its applicability in the workplace. Overall, self-efficacy is positively and strongly related to work-related performance as measured by the weighted average correlation across 114 selected studies.The strength of the relationship, though, is moderated by both task complexity and environmental context. For more complex tasks, the relationships between self-efficacy and work performance is weaker than for easier work-related tasks. In actual work environments, which are characterized by performance constraints, ambiguous demands, deficient performance feedback, and other complicating factors, the relationship appears weaker than in controlled laboratory settings. The implications of this research is that managers should provide accurate descriptions of tasks and provide clear and concise instructions. Moreover, they should provide the necessary supporting elements, including training employees in developing their self-efficacy in additional to task-related skills, for employees to be successful. It has also been suggested that managers should factor in self-efficacy when trying to decide candidates for developmental or training programs. It has been found that those who are high in self-efficacy learn more which leads to higher job performance.
Social cognitive theory explains that employees use five basic capabilities to self influence themselves in order to initiate, regulate and sustain their behavior: symbolizing, forethought, observational, self-regulatory and self reflective.
Self-efficacy has several effects on thought patterns and responses:
A number of studies on the adoption of health practices have measured self-efficacy to assess its potential to initiate behavior change.With increased self-efficacy, individuals have greater confidence in their ability and thus are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors. Greater engagement in healthy behaviors, result in positive patient health outcomes such as improved quality of life. Choices affecting health (such as smoking, physical exercise, dieting, condom use, dental hygiene, seat belt use, and breast self-examination) are dependent on self-efficacy. Self-efficacy beliefs are cognitions that determine whether health behavior change will be initiated, how much effort will be expended, and how long it will be sustained in the face of obstacles and failures. Self-efficacy influences how high people set their health goals (e.g., "I intend to reduce my smoking", or "I intend to quit smoking altogether").
Bandura showed that difference in self-efficacy correlates to fundamentally different world views.People with high self-efficacy generally believe that they are in control of their own lives, that their own actions and decisions shape their lives, while people with low self-efficacy may see their lives as outside their control. For example, a student with high self-efficacy who does poorly on an exam will likely attribute the failure to the fact that they did not study enough. However, a student with low self-efficacy who does poorly on an exam is likely to believe the cause of that failure was due to the test being too difficult or challenging, which the student does not control.
Bandura identifies four factors affecting self-efficacy.
In a Norwegian twin study, the heritability of self-efficacy in adolescents was estimated at 75 percent. The remaining variance, 25 percent, was due to environmental influences not shared between family members. The shared family environment did not contribute to individual differences in self-efficacy.
A theoretical model of the effect of self-efficacy on transgressive behavior was developed and verified in research with school children.
Prosocial behavior (such as helping others, sharing, and being kind and cooperative) and moral disengagement (manifesting in behaviors such as making excuses for bad behavior, avoiding responsibility for consequences, and blaming the victim) are negatively correlated.Academic, social, and self-regulatory self-efficacy encourages prosocial behavior, and thus helps prevent moral disengagement.
In certain circumstances, lower self-efficacy can be helpful. One study examined foreign language students' beliefs about learning, goal attainment, and motivation to continue with language study. It was concluded that over-efficaciousness negatively affected student motivation, so that students who believed they were "good at languages" had less motivation to study.
Social-cognitive models of health behavior change cast self-efficacy as predictor, mediator, or moderator. As a predictor, self-efficacy is supposed to facilitate the forming of behavioral intentions, the development of action plans, and the initiation of action. As mediator, self-efficacy can help prevent relapse to unhealthy behavior.As a moderator, self-efficacy can support the translation of intentions into action. See Health action process approach.
Parents' sense of academic efficacy for their child is linked to their children's scholastic achievement. If the parents have higher perceived academic capabilities and aspirations for their child, the child itself will share those same beliefs. This promotes academic self-efficacy for the child, and in turn, leads to scholastic achievement. It also leads to prosocial behavior, and reduces vulnerability to feelings of futility and depression.There is a relationship between low self-efficacy and depression.
In a study, the majority of a group of students questioned felt they had a difficulty with listening in class situations. Instructors then helped strengthen their listening skills by making them aware about how the use of different strategies could produce better outcomes. This way, their levels of self-efficacy were improved as they continued to figure out what strategies worked for them.
Self-efficacy has proven especially useful for helping undergraduate students to gain insights into their career development in STEM fields.Researchers have reported that mathematics self-efficacy is more predictive of mathematics interest, choice of math-related courses, and math majors than past achievements in math or outcome expectations.
Self-efficacy theory has been applied to the career area to examine why women are underrepresented in male-dominated STEM fields such as mathematics, engineering, and science. It was found that gender differences in self-efficacy expectancies importantly influence the career-related behaviors and career choices of young women.
Technical self-efficacy was found to be a crucial factor for teaching computer programming to school students, as students with higher levels of technological self-efficacy achieve higher learning outcomes. The effect of technical self-efficacy was found to be even stronger than the effect of gender.
Writing studies research indicates a strong relationship linking perceived self-efficacy to motivation and performance outcomes. A 1997 study looked at how self-efficacy could influence the writing ability of 5th graders in the United States. Researchers found that there was a direct correlation between students' self-efficacy and their own writing apprehension, essay performance, and perceived usefulness of writing. As the researchers suggest, this study is important because it showed how important it is for teachers to teach skills but also to build confidence within their students.A more recent study was done that seemed to replicate the findings of the previous study quite nicely. This study found that a student's belief about their own writing did have an impact on their self-efficacy, apprehension, and performance.
One of the factors most commonly associated with self-efficacy in writing studies is motivation. Motivation is often divided into two categories: extrinsic and intrinsic. McLeod suggests that intrinsic motivators tend to be more effective than extrinsic motivators because students then perceive the given task as inherently valuable.Additionally, McCarthy, Meier, and Rinderer explain that writers who are intrinsically motivated tend to be more self-directed, take active control of their writing, and see themselves as more capable of setting and accomplishing goals. Furthermore, writing studies research indicates that self-efficacy influences student choices, effort, persistence, perseverance, thought patterns, and emotional reactions when completing a writing assignment. Students with a high self-efficacy are more likely to attempt and persist in unfamiliar writing tasks.
Self-efficacy has often been linked to students' writing performance outcomes. More so than any other element within the cognitive-affective domain, self-efficacy beliefs have proven to be predictive of performance outcomes in writing.In order to assess the relationship between self-efficacy and writing capabilities, several studies have constructed scales to measure students' self-efficacy beliefs. The results of these scales are then compared to student writing samples. The studies included other variables, such as writing anxiety, grade goals, depth of processing, and expected outcomes. However, self-efficacy was the only variable that was a statistically significant predictor of writing performance.
A strong negative relationship has been suggested between levels of speech anxiety and self-efficacy.
As the focus of healthcare continues to transition from the medical model to health promotion and preventive healthcare, the role of self-efficacy as a potent influence on health behavior and self-care has come under review. According to Luszczynska and Schwarzer,self-efficacy plays a role in influencing the adoption, initiation, and maintenance of healthy behaviors, as well as curbing unhealthy practices.
Healthcare providers can integrate self-efficacy interventions into patient education. One method is to provide examples of other people acting on a health promotion behavior and then work with the patient to encourage their belief in their own ability to change.Furthermore, when nurses followed-up by telephone after hospital discharge, individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were found to have increased self-efficacy in managing breathing difficulties. In this study, the nurses helped reinforce education and reassured patients regarding their self-care management techniques while in their home environment.
At the National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology in Taiwan, researchers investigated the correlations between general Internet self-efficacy (GISE), Web-specific self-efficacy (WSE), and e-service usage. Researchers concluded that GISE directly affects the WSE of a consumer, which in turn shows a strong correlation with e-service usage. These findings are significant for future consumer targeting and marketing.
Furthermore, self-efficacy has been included as one of the four factors of core self-evaluation, one's fundamental appraisal of oneself, along with locus of control, neuroticism, and self-esteem.Core self-evaluation has shown to predict job satisfaction and job performance.
Researchers have also examined self-efficacy in the context of the work–life interface. Chan et al. (2016) developed and validated a measure "self-efficacy to regulate work and life" and defined it as "the belief one has in one's own ability to achieve a balance between work and non-work responsibilities, and to persist and cope with challenges posed by work and non-work demands" (p. 1758). Specifically, Chan et al. (2016) found that "self-efficacy to regulate work and life" helped to explain the relationship between work–family enrichment, work–life balance, and job satisfaction and family satisfaction. Chan et al. (2017) also found that "self-efficacy to regulate work and life" assists individuals to achieve work–life balance and work engagement despite the presence of family and work demands.
While self-efficacy is sometimes measured as a whole, as with the General Self-Efficacy Scale,it is also measured in particular functional situations.
Social self-efficacy has been variably defined and measured. According to Smith and Betz, social self-efficacy is "an individual's confidence in her/his ability to engage in the social interactional tasks necessary to initiate and maintain interpersonal relationships." They measured social self-efficacy using an instrument of their own devise called the Scale of Perceived Social Self-Efficacy, which measured six domains: (1) making friends, (2) pursuing romantic relationships, (3) social assertiveness, (4) performance in public situations, (5) groups or parties, and (6) giving or receiving help.More recently, it has been suggested that social self-efficacy can also be operationalised in terms of cognitive (confidence in knowing what to do in social situations) and behavioral (confidence in performing in social situations) social self-efficacy.
Matsushima and Shiomi measured self-efficacy by focusing on self-confidence about social skill in personal relationship, trust in friends, and trust by friends.
Researchers suggest that social self-efficacy is strongly correlated with shyness and social anxiety.
Academic self-efficacy refers to the belief that one can successfully engage in and complete course-specific academic tasks, such as accomplishing course aims, satisfactorily completing assignments, achieving a passing grade, and meeting the requirements to continue to pursue one's major course of study.Various empirical inquiries have been aimed at measuring academic self-efficacy.
Other areas of self-efficacy that have been identified for study include teacher self-efficacyand technological self-efficacy.
Albert Bandura is a Canadian-American psychologist who is the David Starr Jordan Professor Emeritus of Social Science in Psychology at Stanford University.
Social learning theory is a theory of learning process and social behavior which proposes that new behaviors can be acquired by observing and imitating others. It states that learning is a cognitive process that takes place in a social context and can occur purely through observation or direct instruction, even in the absence of motor reproduction or direct reinforcement. In addition to the observation of behavior, learning also occurs through the observation of rewards and punishments, a process known as vicarious reinforcement. When a particular behavior is rewarded regularly, it will most likely persist; conversely, if a particular behavior is constantly punished, it will most likely desist. The theory expands on traditional behavioral theories, in which behavior is governed solely by reinforcements, by placing emphasis on the important roles of various internal processes in the learning individual.
Expectancy theory (16/9) proposes that an individual will behave or act in a certain way because they are motivated to select a specific behavior over others due to what they expect the result of that selected behavior will be. In essence, the motivation of the behavior selection is determined by the desirability of the outcome. However, at the core of the theory is the cognitive process of how an individual processes the different motivational elements. This is done before making the ultimate choice. The outcome is not the sole determining factor in making the decision of how to behave.
Goal setting involves the development of an action plan designed in order to motivate and guide a person or group toward a goal. Goals are more deliberate than desires and momentary intentions. Therefore, setting goals means that a person has committed thought, emotion, and behavior towards attaining the goal. In doing so, the goal setter has established a desired future state which differs from their current state thus creating a mismatch which in turn spurs future actions. Goal setting can be guided by goal-setting criteria such as SMART criteria. Goal setting is a major component of personal-development and management literature. Studies by Edwin A. Locke and his colleagues, most notably Gary Latham, have shown that more specific and ambitious goals lead to more performance improvement than easy or general goals. The goals should be specific, time constrained and difficult. Difficult goals should be set ideally at the 90th percentile of performance assuming that motivation and not ability is limiting attainment of that level of performance. As long as the person accepts the goal, has the ability to attain it, and does not have conflicting goals, there is a positive linear relationship between goal difficulty and task performance.
The theory of planned behavior (TPB) is a psychological theory that links beliefs to behavior. The theory maintains that three core components, namely, attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control, together shape an individual's behavioral intentions. In turn, a tenet of TPB is that behavioral intention is the most proximal determinant of human social behavior.
Self-regulation theory (SRT) is a system of conscious personal management that involves the process of guiding one's own thoughts, behaviors and feelings to reach goals. Self-regulation consists of several stages and individuals must function as contributors to their own motivation, behavior and development within a network of reciprocally interacting influences.
Confidence is a state of being clear-headed either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective. Confidence comes from a Latin word 'fidere' which means "to trust"; therefore, having self-confidence is having trust in one's self. Arrogance or hubris, in comparison, is the state of having unmerited confidence – believing something or someone is capable or correct when they are not. Overconfidence or presumptuousness is excessive belief in someone succeeding, without any regard for failure. Confidence can be a self-fulfilling prophecy as those without it may fail or not try because they lack it and those with it may succeed because they have it rather than because of an innate ability.
Reciprocal determinism is the theory set forth by psychologist Albert Bandura which states that a person's behavior both influences and is influenced by personal factors and the social environment. Bandura accepts the possibility that an individual's behavior may be conditioned through the use of consequences. At the same time he asserts that a person's behavior can impact the environment. These skill sets result in an under- or overcompensated ego that, for all creative purposes, is too strong or too weak to focus on pure outcome. This is important because Bandura was able to prove the strong correlation between this with experiments.
Social cognitive theory (SCT), used in psychology, education, and communication, holds that portions of an individual's knowledge acquisition can be directly related to observing others within the context of social interactions, experiences, and outside media influences. This theory was advanced by Albert Bandura as an extension of his social learning theory. The theory states that when people observe a model performing a behavior and the consequences of that behavior, they remember the sequence of events and use this information to guide subsequent behaviors. Observing a model can also prompt the viewer to engage in behavior they already learned. In other words, people do not learn new behaviors solely by trying them and either succeeding or failing, but rather, the survival of humanity is dependent upon the replication of the actions of others. Depending on whether people are rewarded or punished for their behavior and the outcome of the behavior, the observer may choose to replicate behavior modeled. Media provides models for a vast array of people in many different environmental settings.
Behavioural change theories are attempts to explain why human behaviours change. These theories cite environmental, personal, and behavioural characteristics as the major factors in behavioural determination. In recent years, there has been increased interest in the application of these theories in the areas of health, education, criminology, energy and international development with the hope that understanding behavioural change will improve the services offered in these areas. Some scholars have recently introduced a distinction between models of behavior and theories of change. Whereas models of behavior are more diagnostic and geared towards understanding the psychological factors that explain or predict a specific behavior, theories of change are more process-oriented and generally aimed at changing a given behavior. Thus, from this perspective, understanding and changing behavior are two separate but complementary lines of scientific investigation.
Expectancy–value theory has been developed in many different fields including education, health, communications, marketing and economics. Although the model differs in its meaning and implications for each field, the general idea is that there are expectations as well as values or beliefs that affect subsequent behavior.
In psychology, the I-change model or the Integrated Model, for explaining motivational and behavioral change, derives from the Attitude – Social Influence – Self-Efficacy Model, integrates ideas of Ajzen's Theory of Planned Behavior, Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory, Prochaska's Transtheoretical Model, the Health Belief Model, and Goal setting theories. Previous versions of this model have been used to explain a variety of types of health behavior.
The health action process approach (HAPA) is a psychological theory of health behavior change, developed by Ralf Schwarzer, Professor of Psychology at the Freie University Berlin of Berlin, Germany and SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Wroclaw, Poland, first published in 1992.
Sport psychology is an interdisciplinary science that draws on knowledge from many related fields including biomechanics, physiology, kinesiology and psychology. It involves the study of how psychological factors affect performance and how participation in sport and exercise affect psychological and physical factors. Sport psychologists teach cognitive and behavioral strategies to athletes in order to improve their experience and performance in sports. In addition to instruction and training of psychological skills for performance improvement, applied sport psychology may include work with athletes, coaches, and parents regarding injury, rehabilitation, communication, team building, and career transitions. Also closely associated with Sports psychiatry.
Goal orientation is an "individual disposition towards developing or validating one's ability in achievement settings".
Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory is a landmark work in psychology published in 1986 by Albert Bandura. The book expands Bandura's initial social learning theory into a comprehensive theory of human motivation and action, analyzing the role of cognitive, vicarious, self-regulatory, and self-reflective processes in psychosocial functioning. Bandura first advanced his thesis of reciprocal determinism in Social Foundations of Thought and Action.
While self-efficacy, in general, refers to one's confidence in executing courses of action in managing a wide array of situations, work self-efficacy assesses workers' confidence in managing workplace experiences . The theoretical underpinning is that individuals with higher work self-efficacy are more likely to look forward to, and to be successful in, workplace performance. Furthermore, work accomplishments are believed, in turn, to increases self-efficacy through a feedback loop tying subsequent performance to augmented self-efficacy beliefs.
Academic achievement or academic performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has attained their short or long-term educational goals. Completion of educational benchmarks such as secondary school diplomas and bachelor's degrees represent academic achievement.
Control in the context of psychology generally refers to how a person regulates themselves or wishes to regulate their environment. There are several identified types of control -Perceived Control, cognitive control, emotional control, motivational control, control desire, inhibitory control, social control, ego control, and effortful control.
Alex Stajkovic is an Organizational Behavior (OB) professor who has conducted research on confidence and goal priming. He is the M. Keith Weikel Distinguished Chair in Leadership in the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. His research bears on self-efficacy, confidence, and primed goals. Stajkovic co-authored papers with Albert Bandura, Edwin Locke, and Fred Luthans. Stajkovic is a contributing editor to the Journal of Applied Psychology, as well as a member of the Midwestern Psychological Association and Society for Science of Motivation.