Confidence and Ability: The Impact of Perceived Self-Efficacy on Behavior
New York University
Perceived self-efficacy plays an important role in producing differing levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect peoples lives. Perceived self-efficacy can impact a persons life on differing stages of interaction and influence the outcomes of these situations to satisfactory or unsatisfactory ends. A person’s positive perception of their abilities is influenced by diverse factors that are person specific including ethnic identity, social support, and self esteem. Once theses various factors affect a persons self-efficacy perceptions the result is either positive or negative efficacy beliefs being produced. These beliefs are the foundation established by differing life factors that dramatically impact and solidify a persons perceived self-efficacy. This perceived self-efficacy would then ultimately and rigorously impact how that person is motivated to perform in the academic arena.
Keywords: self-efficacy perceptions and beliefs, social factors, motivation, academic performance, pro-social attitudes, behavior.
Confidence and Ability: The Impact of Perceived Self-Efficacy on Behavior
This review analyzed the developmental course of perceived self-efficacy for self- regulated perceptions and its contribution to academic achievements and the likelihood of positive outcomes. The role of perceived self-efficacy in the academic domain has been examined at differing levels and elaborated on to how these differing levels impact the self-efficacy belief systems of all involved. These include students’ beliefs in their efficacy to regulate their learning activities and to master academic subjects, teachers’ beliefs in their instructional efficacy to manage classrooms and to motivate and promote learning in their students, and faculties’ collective sense of efficacy that their schools can accomplish significant academic progress.
The impact of self-efficacy perceptions and the different forms it takes on in differing environments and situations act to inform our decision-making processes. These self-efficacy beliefs can impact academic life, mental and emotional healing after negative traumatic experiences, and the parenting skills of new parents. We explore the differing factors involved in shaping and influencing self-efficacy perceptions from self-esteem, ethnic identity, support systems, to pro-social attitudes. These multi dimensional dynamics converge to form our individual efficacy belief system that in turn makes up our motivational, cognitive, planning, and decision processes that determine our resulting behavior.
Impact of Perceived Self-Efficacy
Perceived self-efficacy is defined as people's beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives. Self-efficacy beliefs determine how people feel, think, motivate themselves and behave. Such beliefs produce these diverse effects through four major processes including cognitive, motivational, affective, and selection processes. Bandura (1993) explains how perceived self-efficacy contributes to cognitive development and functioning exerting its influence on academic growth. Bandura (1993) highlights that a students beliefs in their self-efficacy towards learning and their mastery of academic activities determines their aspirations, level of motivation, and academic accomplishments. While teachers beliefs in their personal self-efficacy to motivate students and promote learning affect the type of learning environments they create and the level of academic progress their students achieve (Bandura, 1993). On a higher level, faculties’ beliefs in their collective instructional efficacy significantly contribute to their schools level of academic achievement.
Self-efficacy is perceived in different forms and manifests different behaviors that contribute to positive outcomes. Benight and Bandura (2003) integrate findings from diverse studies on the role of perceived coping self-efficacy in recovery from different types of traumatic experiences. These traumatic experiences include natural disasters, technological catastrophes, terrorist attacks, military combat, and sexual and criminal assaults. Benight and Bandura (2003) point out that though these various studies apply a multitude of controls for diverse sets of potential contributors to posttraumatic recovery, perceived coping self-efficacy emerges as a central mediator of posttraumatic recovery. Verification of its independent contribution to posttraumatic recovery across a wide range of traumas lends support to the significance of the enabling and protective function of belief in one’s capability to exercise some measure of control over traumatic adversity (Benight & Bandura, 2003).
Bandura (1993) elaborated on the effects of perceived self-efficacy in relation to academic performance and the effect upon the dynamic multi level structure of a school hierarchy. Benight and Bandura (2003) examine studies whose findings lend support that perceived coping self-efficacy has contributed to positive recovery outcomes from traumatic experiences. We now turn to Bryanton, Gagnon, Hatem, and Johnston (2008) who elaborate on parenting self-efficacy as being identified as a determinant of positive parenting. Bryanton, et al. (2008) determine the factors predictive of parenting self-efficacy which included positive perception of the birth experience, higher general self-efficacy perceptions, and excellent partner relationship. Greater parenting self-efficacy was predicted by age and correlated with excellent partner relationship and maternal perception of infant contentment. Birth perception is a correlate of parenting self-efficacy therefore; nurses have an opportunity to strive to create a positive birth experience for all women to enhance their early parenting self-efficacy (Bryanton, et al., 2008).
Perceptions of self-efficacy can dramatically affect the performance of an individual from academic performance, illness recovery, parenting practices, and countless other situations where affective behavior can produce positive outcomes. Now that we have studied some of the possible effects of self-efficacy perceptions, we now explore different factors that influence these self-efficacy perceptions.
Factors of Self-Efficacy
Smith, Walker, Fields, Brookins, and Seay (1999) examined the relationship of ethnic identity to self-esteem, perceived self-efficacy, and pro-social attitudes. Smith et al. (1999) studied 100 male and female early adolescents from different racial/ethnic backgrounds. During their study Smith et al. (1999) indicated that self-esteem and ethnic identity factors occurred which were related and supported efficacy-mediated effects upon pro-social attitudes. The findings suggested that ethnic identity and self-esteem are distinct but related contributors to young people's perceptions of their ability to achieve academically, to find meaningful careers, and to value pro-social means of goal attainment (Smith et al., 1999).
While Smith et al. (1999) explored ethnic identity and self esteem as factors that influence perceived self-efficacy, Kerpelman, Eryigit, and Stephens (2008) addressed associations of self-efficacy, ethnic identity and parental support with future educational orientation. Their study establishes that both gender and current level of achievement distinguished adolescents with differing levels of future educational orientations, or goals. The strongest predictors of future education orientation were self-efficacy, ethnic identity and maternal support, while gender did not moderate these associations (Kerpelman, Eryigit, & Stevens, 2008). They feel that policies and programs that facilitate school bonding and academic performance, as well as efforts that focus specifically on enhancing the future education orientation and academic success of African American male adolescents, is needed to boost self-efficacy perceptions of children from diverse ethnic backgrounds while integrating parental support.
Caprara, Barbaranelli, Pastorelli, and Cervone (2004) examine the ability of self-efficacy beliefs to predict psychosocial outcomes with respect to three indicators of adjustment: peer preference, academic achievement, and problem behavior. Caprara et al. (2004) utilized a longitudinal design where self-efficacy beliefs were used to predict psychosocial outcomes measured two years later. Self-efficacy beliefs proved to predict psychosocial outcomes even after controlling for self-reported global personality dispositions. Adolescents’ perceptions of self-efficacy for regulating their actions in accord with personal norms when they are faced with peer pressure for engaging in antisocial conduct were particularly influential, predicting psychosocial outcomes across all three domains (Caprara et al., 2004).
Perceived self-efficacy manifests in different forms impacting academics, emotional healing, and parenting practices through the motivation it provides. A multitude of factors including ethnic identity, social support, and self esteem greatly impact self-efficacy beliefs that in turn impact pro-social attitudes and goal orientation either in a positive way through high self-efficacy beliefs or negatively through low self-efficacy beliefs. Another possible area of the beneficial or debilitating impact of self-efficacy beliefs is in the realm of academics.
Self-Efficacy and Academics
Technology has become an integral part of the world in which we live today and even more so in the future to come. McCoy (2010) points out that today's undergraduate college students have extensive exposure to technology in all aspects of their lives, and more often than not educators would expect all students to be technologically proficient. However many people do not easily gain proficiency with computer technologies and the ability to master a skill can be examined as self-efficacy (McCoy, 2010). Self-efficacy provides a mechanism to examine the relationship between self-efficacy and technological proficiency. McCoy (2010) utilizes the General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSES) to determine if the use of a computer at home, age, and levels of self-efficacy influenced technological proficiency. The results of this study indicate that the use of a computer at home is related to enhance computer skills and respondents with a computer at home had increased self-efficacy. Additionally, students in the 18-25 age group reported higher levels of technological proficiency and self-efficacy.
Caprara, Fida, Vecchione, Del Bove, Vecchio, Barbaranelli, & Bandura (2008) examined the developmental course of perceived efficacy for self-regulated learning and its contribution to academic achievement and likelihood of remaining in school. Their study revealed a progressive decline in self-regulatory efficacy from junior to senior high school, with males experiencing the greater reduction. The lower the decline in self-regulatory efficacy, the higher the high school grades and the greater the likelihood of remaining in high school controlling for socioeconomic status (Caprara et al., 2008). Further analysis revealed that high perceived efficacy for self-regulated learning in junior high school contributed to junior high school grades and self-regulatory efficacy in high school, which partially mediated the relation of junior high grades on high school grades and the likelihood of remaining in school (Caprara et al., 2008).
Thijs and Verkuyten (2008) examine the link between perceived peer victimization and academic adjustment in an ethnically diverse sample nested within 108 school classes. It was hypothesized that students’ academic self-efficacy mediates the (negative) link between victimization experiences and academic achievement outcomes. This study also explored whether there are differences between ethnic minority and majority group children. Results indicated that peer victimization was negatively associated with both relative class-based, and absolute test-based measures of academic achievement (Thijs, & Verkuyten, 2008). The link between victimization and achievement was mediated by perceived academic self-efficacy, suggesting that victimized students did less well academically because they considered themselves to be less competent (Thijs, & Verkuyten, 2008).
Morris and Usher (2011) assess the sources of award-wining research professors’ (six women; six men) teaching self-efficacy through the framework of Bandura’s (1986) social cognitive theory. Semi-structured interviews revealed that mastery experiences and social persuasions were particularly influential sources of self-efficacy and that these sources tended to be closely related (Morris, & Usher, 2011). Professors reported that their self-efficacy had generally stabilized within their first few years of assuming a tenure-track position. Participants framed negative events in adaptive ways that had little cost to their teaching self-efficacy (Morris, & Usher, 2011).
Bandura (1993) elaborated on the effects of perceived self-efficacy in relation to academic performance and the effect upon the dynamic multi level structure of a school hierarchy. Benight and Bandura (2003) examine studies whose findings lend support that perceived coping self-efficacy has contributed to positive recovery outcomes from traumatic experiences. Bryanton, Gagnon, Hatem, and Johnston (2008) elaborate on parenting self-efficacy as being identified as a determinant of positive parenting. Perceptions of self-efficacy can dramatically affect the performance of an individual from academic performance, illness recovery, parenting practices, and countless other situations where affective behavior can produce positive outcomes. These studies explored some of the possible effects of self-efficacy perceptions while others expand on the different factors that influence these self-efficacy perceptions. Smith, Walker, Fields, Brookins, and Seay (1999) examined the relationship of ethnic identity to self-esteem, perceived self-efficacy, and pro-social attitudes, while Kerpelman, Eryigit, and Stephens (2008) addressed associations of self-efficacy, ethnic identity and parental support with future educational orientation. Caprara, Barbaranelli, Pastorelli, and Cervone (2004) examine the ability of self-efficacy beliefs to predict psychosocial outcomes with respect to three indicators of adjustment: peer preference, academic achievement, and problem behavior indicating that a multitude of factors including ethnic identity, social support, and self esteem greatly impact self-efficacy beliefs that in turn impact pro-social attitudes and goal orientation either in a positive or negatively way through self-efficacy beliefs. Another possible area of the beneficial or debilitating impact of self-efficacy beliefs is in the realm of academics. McCoy 2010) states that self-efficacy provides a mechanism to examine the relationship between self-efficacy and technological proficiency, Caprara, Fida, Vecchione, Del Bove, Vecchio, Barbaranelli, & Bandura (2008) examined the developmental course of perceived efficacy for self-regulated learning and its contribution to academic achievement and likelihood of remaining in school, and Thijs and Verkuyten (2008) examine the link between perceived peer victimization and academic adjustment in an ethnically diverse sample nested within 108 school classes. Finally Morris and Usher (2011) assess the sources of award-wining research professors’ teaching self-efficacy through the framework of Bandura’s (1986) social cognitive theory.
This current study will examine 1. How does perceived self efficacy affect a students’ academic performance? 2. Are students with perceptions of low self-efficacy less likely to set higher goals of achievement? I hypothesized that Students with high self-efficacy perceptions will have higher overall grades than students with low self-efficacy perceptions. Students with high-perceived self-efficacy are more likely to become involved in university activities (i.e. research teams, student government, student organizations, etc…). Students with high perceived self-efficacy will be more recognized by university staff and stand out more among their cohorts, and students with high self-efficacy will have better attendance rates and assignment completion rates than students with low self-efficacy. Implications of this study show the importance of strong self-efficacy beliefs in solidifying perceptions in determining planned behavior. How social, emotional, and behavioral factors influence these belief systems and the impact it can have on a persons self esteem, decision making processes, and resulting behavior.
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