Sources of Self-efficacy

Self-efficacy beliefs develop from four major sources (Bandura, 1997). The most influential source of efficacy information is enactive mastery experience or the interpreted result of one’s purposive performance. Bandura (1997) postulated that successes bring about a strong belief in one’s selfefficacy whereas failures destroy it, especially if those failures take place before a sense of efficacy is firmly grounded. As pointed out by Pajares (1997), to increase student achievement in school, educators and teachers should focus their efforts on changing students’ beliefs or their self-worth through successful experience with the performance at hand, or through authentic mastery experiences.

The second source of self-efficacy comes from vicarious experiences provided by observing social models. This source of information plays an important role particularly when individuals are not sure about their abilities or have limited prior experience. According to Pajares (1997), a significant model in one’s life can generate self-beliefs that will impact the course that life will take. Vicarious experience also relates to social comparisons individuals made with others since they must appraise their capabilities in relation to the attainments of others. As a result, these comparisons, as well as peer modeling, can have powerful influences on generating self-efficacy.

Self-efficacy can also be developed from social persuasions. This means is typically effective especially when people are struggling with difficulties. Verbal persuasions from significant others can boost self-efficacy and lead people to try harder to accomplish the task. However, positive appraisal must be within realistic bounds, otherwise it can discredit the persuaders and undermine the recipients’ self-beliefs if things turn to fail (Bandura, 1997).

The last source of efficacy information includes physiological and affective states such as stress, anxiety, arousal, pains, fatigue, and heart rates. In accordance with Bandura (1997), people usually interpret their physical activation in stressful situations as signs of vulnerability to dysfunction. Thus, the major way to alter efficacy beliefs in this case is “to enhance physical status, reduce stress levels and negative emotional proclivities, and correct misinterpretations of bodily states” (Bandura, 1997, p.106).

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