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Self-efficacy refers to one’s personal beliefs in their ability to organize and perform a course of action required to reach the desired target. Another aspect of self-efficacy is that when a person feels that a particular situation is above their capabilities, they tend to avoid the task or situation. In seeking solutions to hardship, those who perceive themselves as highly efficacious, view their failures as in satisfactory effort. Whereas, those who have low self-efficacy views failure as deficient the ability to perform the tasks.

Bandura (1997) defined Self Efficacy as people’s judgments or beliefs of their capabilities to organise and execute courses required to attain designated types of performances. It is concerned not with the skills one has but with judgments of what one can do with whatever skills one possesses. Self-efficacy is, how well a person will act upon at almost any challenge. A person’s self-efficacy is a strong determinant of their effort, determination, strategising as well as their following performance.

Difference between self-efficacy, self-esteem and self-confidence

Self-efficacy is, how well a person will perform at almost any attempt. It is more precise and confined than self-confidence. Self-confidence is a universal personality quality that relates to how boldly people act in most situations and self-esteem is the extent to which a person evaluates himself or herself, it is generally also more enthusiastically developed than self-confidence or self-efficacy.

Sources of self-efficacy

Bandura (1997) suggested that self-efficacy beliefs interpret information from four principal sources.

Mastery experiences

The most powerful source is the interpretation of the results of one’s own previous attainment or mastery experience. Once students complete an academic task, they interpret and evaluate the results obtained, and judgments of ability are created or revised according to those interpretations. When students believe that their efforts have been successful, their confidence is raised to accomplish similar or related tasks; when they believe that their efforts failed to produce the effect desired, confidence to succeed in similar actions is diminished.

Vicarious experience

In addition to interpreting the results of their trials, students build their efficacy beliefs by observing others. It is for this reason that models can play a powerful role in the development of self-efficacy. Students are most likely to modify their beliefs following a model’s success or failure to the degree that they feel similar to the model. For instance, watching a classmate succeed at a challenging mathematics problem, may encourage fellow students that they too can overcome the challenge.

Social persuasion (influence)

The social opinions that students receive from others is the third source of self-efficacy. The support students receive from parents, teachers, and peers whom they trust can improve their confidence in their academic capabilities. When they are not yet skilful at making accurate self-appraisals, students often depend on others to provide evaluative response and judgments about their academic performance. Supportive messages and encouragement can serve to strengthen a student’s effort and self-confidence.

Emotional and physiological indexes

Students interpret anxiety (worry or unease), stress (strain or tension), fatigue (weakness or low energy), and mood when they judge their competence. Students learn to evaluate their own performances as they experience different physiological states, and they interpret their incentive as an indicator of personal efficacy. Strong emotional reactions to school-related tasks can provide clues to expected success or failure.

Types of self-efficacy

    • Academic self-efficacy
    • Social self-efficacy
    • Regulatory (Dogmatic) self-efficacy
    • High self-efficacy
    • Low self-efficacy
    • Collective self-efficacy
    • Generalized self-efficacy

Academic self-efficacy

          A person’s self-reliance in their ability to organize executes and regulates performance in order to solve a problem or accomplish a task at a designation level of ability. It refers to a person’s faith that they can successfully attain at a chosen level in a specific academic subject area. Students who are confident in their capability to sort out, perform, and adjust their problem-solving or task presentation at a selected level of potential are demonstrating high self- efficacy.

Social self-efficacy

It refers to individuals’ beliefs that they are capable of initiating social contact and developing new friendships. Loneliness has been connected with negative feelings about interpersonal relationships. Lonely people have been judged to be less inter-personally competent than people who are not lonely (Wei, Russell & Zakalik, 2005).

Dogmatic self-efficacy

            Self-instructions strongly depend upon self-efficacy values. Apparent self-efficacy influences three things; the level of confronting, people set for themselves, the amount of effort they accumulate, and their determination in the face of difficulties. Perceived self-efficacy also influences performance both directly and indirectly through its influence on self-set goals (Zimmerman, 2000).

High self-efficacy

Efficacy is the talent to produce any planned result. Self-efficacy is the alertness that a person holds about their own capacity to produce any proposed result. If someone has far above the ground self-efficacy believes, they have the ability to achieve the future goal then this efficacy is called a person’s high self-efficacy (McGrath, n.d) . Different characteristics of high self-efficacy are

    • Good in communication.
    • Confidence area remains high.
    • Highly motivated to meet the task.
    • Capable of carrying out the activity.
    • High future performance.
    • Rely on their abilities.

Low self-efficacy

          If someone has near to the ground self-efficacy believes then they do not have the ability to achieve the future intended goal, this efficacy is called as low self-efficacy. Their characteristics are

    • Invest less and give up sooner.
    • Always puzzled in facing unexpected events.
    • Fearful in accomplishing any task.
    • Don’t rely on their abilities.
    • Avoid challenges.
    • Low future performance.

Collective self-efficacy

Collective efficacy refers to a group’s shared belief in its conjoint capabilities to reach their goals and achieve desired tasks. It involves the belief or perception that effective collective action is possible to tackle a social or public health problem. Beliefs of collective efficacy may be a predictor of group performance. Individuals who occupy different roles or positions in the same organisation may differ in their perceptions of the group’s collective efficacy (Bandura, 1997).

Generalized self-efficacy

            It refers to, an individual having more or less firm beliefs in different domains or particular situations of functioning. It is also called universal self-efficacy (Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995).

Self-efficacy affects performance, well-being and human functioning

Research has found that self-efficacy is important for supporting the significant effort required to master skills involved in, for instance, public speaking, losing weight, and becoming an effective student.

High self-efficacy improves students’ capacity to collect important information, make sound decisions, and then take appropriate action, particularly when they are under time pressure. In contrast, low self-efficacy can lead to conflicting critical thinking that undermines the quality of problem-solving– a key competency in an increasingly knowledge-based society. When people have low self-efficacy, they also tend to blame either the situation or another person when things go wrong. People are inclined to become nervous or miserable when they perceive themselves as unable to manage aversive events. Thus, self-efficacy is also related to the experience of stress. Specifically, low self-efficacy can readily lead to a sense of helplessness and hopelessness about one’s capability to learn how to cope more effectively with the challenges and demands of one’s work. When this occurs, low self-efficacy can be distressing and depressing, thereby preventing even highly talented individuals from performing effectively. Abraham Lincoln exhibited high self-efficacy in response to the numerous and repeated public rebukes and failures he experienced before his eventual political triumphs (Bandura, 2006).

Importance of self-efficacy

Self-efficacy is a person’s decision about being able to perform a particular activity.  It is a person’s “I can” or “I cannot” belief.  Unlike self-esteem, which reflects how a person feels about their worth or value, self-efficacy reflects how certain individuals are about performing specific tasks.


  • Bandura, A. 1977. “Self-efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change.” Psychological Review 84:191-215.
  • Bandura, A . 1997. Self-efficacy: The Exercise of Control. New York: W. H. Freeman.
  • Bandura, A. (2006). Self-efficacy beliefs of adolescents. Information Age Publishing.
  • McGrath, B. (n.d.). High self efficacy . Retrieved from efficacy?.html
  • Schwarzer, R., & Jerusalem, M. (1995). Generalized Self-Efficacy scale. In J. Weinman, S. Wright, & M. Johnston, Measures in health psychology: A users portfolio. Causal and control beliefs (pp. 35-37).
  • Windsor, UK: NFER-NELSONWei, M ., Russell, D.W.,& Zakalik, R.A. (2005) . Adult Attachment, Social Self-Efficacy, Self-Disclosure, Loneliness, and Subsequent Depression for Freshman College Students: A Longitudinal Study. Journal of counseling psychology .Vol. 52, No 4 .p=602-614.
  • Zimmerman, B.J. (2000). Self-Efficacy: An Essential Motive to Learn. Contemporary Educational Psychology 25, 82–91, (2000). doi:10.1006/ceps.1999.1016.


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