The Self-Efficacy Concept Essay
The concept of self-efficacy, as defined by Bandura (1986) refers to “people's judgments of their capabilities to organize and execute courses of action required to attain designated types of performances”. In other words, it reflects one’s belief in that their actions will lead to desired outcome. As the concept of self-efficacy is central to discussions of motivation and performance, it has been a focus of organisational, educational, social, health and sports psychologists ever since it was first introduced in Bandura’s (1977) work.
One of the most comprehensive reviews of literature and research on self-efficacy has been offered by Schunk (1995). This review considers self-efficacy in the framework of the Social Cognitive theory proposed by Bandura (1977), discusses some variables affecting self-efficacy, namely models, feedback and goal setting, and overviews some evidence of predictive value of self-efficacy on achievement outcomes. According to Bandura (1988), there are four factors, which allow individuals to assess their self-efficacy: actual performance (success would raise self efficacy, whereas a failure would have an opposite effect), vicarious experience, meaning that observing others success increases one’s own self-efficacy, social persuasion and physiological reactions (for instance, the perception of increased heart-rate in a stressful situation could contribute to lowering one’s self-efficacy).
Schunk (1995) notes that self-efficacy is not the only influence on behaviour, but rather is affected by one’s personal qualities, prior experience and social support on the initial stage of engaging in a task. As individuals proceed with a task, their motivation and self-efficacy are also influenced by a number of individual and situational factors. For instance, teacher’s feedback or reward might serve as a situational factor, whereas goal orientation (Dweck, 1986) would be considered as an individual factor.
Similarly to Schunk (1995), the theory discussed in Schwarzer and Renner (2000), which is used as background for their analysis of self efficacy in behaviours related to preventive nutrition, distinguishes between the concept of self-efficacy before the behaviour is started and after. This theory, Health Action Process Approach (Schwarzer, 1992) states that there are two distinct phases leading to a behaviour. The first phase is a motivation phase, during which a person develops the intention to act relying on risk perception, outcome expectancy and action self-efficacy. The second phase is a volition phase, during which one plans the details and commences action, to maintain which one requires coping self-efficacy. The distinction between the two types of self-efficacy mentioned above lies in that action self-efficacy refers to one’s belief in being able to take action that eventually would lead to a successful result, whereas coping self-efficacy describes one’s belief in their capability to overcome obstacles while the action is in progress.
This concept of coping self-efficacy proposed within Health Action Process Approach (Schwarzer, 1992) directly addresses one of the areas that Schunk (1995) identified as requiring more research. In his review, Schunk (1995) stated that even though there had been some studies showing maintenance of educational …