16. Self-efficacySelf-efficacy is the belief in one’s capacity to perform a specific task (Bandura, 1986; Gist & Mitchell, 1992). The higher a person’s feelings of self-efficacy, the better that person tends to do at a wide range of tasks. And this can ultimately lead to more generalized positive feelings about one-self.
The strength of self-efficacy will determine whether coping behavior will be initiated. Perceived self-efficacy influences choice of behavioral settings. People fear and tend to avoid threatening situations they believe exceed their coping skills, whereas, they get involved in activities and behave assuredly when they judge themselves capable of handling situations that would otherwise be intimidating.
Through expectations of eventual success, self-efficacy can affect coping efforts once they are initiated. Efficacy expectations determine how much effort will be expended, and how long it will be sustained in the face of obstacles and aversive experiences. Stronger the perceived self-efficacy, more active will be the efforts.
Those who persist in subjectively threatening activities that are in fact relatively safe will gain corrective experiences that reinforce their sense of efficacy, thereby eventually eliminating their defensive behavior. Those who cease their coping efforts prematurely will retain their self-debilitating expectations and fears for a long time.
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Self-efficacy - Toward a unifying theory of Behavioural Change, Albert Bandura
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