Self-Efficacy Scales: ( An Update)

In this article we will discuss, self-efficacy and and self-efficacy scales 

When a person is confident and full of self belief about his skills and potential to demonstrate the required behaviour in order to attain specific performance.

This is known as self efficacy. It provides trust and confidence to an individual to take control of his behaviour, motivation and social environment.

Human experiences which include goals and aims of people, the efforts they put in to achieve their dreams and goals and likelihood of getting specific levels of behavioral performance are all influenced by these cognitive self-evaluations.

Beliefs of self efficacy are entirely different from the constructs of traditional psychology. These beliefs are hypothesized to change.

This change depends on the realm of functioning and conditions in which a particular behaviour is demonstrated.

Self-efficacy may have a significant role in the life of an individual, which may impact the feelings of that individual about himself and also how successful he might be.

Self-efficacy Scales

Self-efficacy Scale consists of 10-items. This scale has been designed for the assessment of optimistic self-beliefs to deal with different kinds of difficulties of life.

Back in 1981, Ralf Schwarzer and Matthias Jerusalem developed this scale. This scale has been used in many different types of research.

Unlike other scales which mainly focus on the development of optimism, self-efficacy scale focuses explicitly on personal factors, i.e., the belief that successful outcomes are dependent on the actions of an individual. Perceived self-efficacy is a prospective and operative construct.

A cognitive psychologist, Albert Bandura has defined self-efficacy as,

The confidence of a person in his abilities and skills in maintaining and executing his plans which are necessary for the management of anticipated situations.

Self-efficacy is a much discussed topic among psychologists and education specialists as it is a very important factor which can greatly impact a person’s psychological states.

Our beliefs are considered important when it comes to our own abilities which play constructive part in building our perceptions, i.e., how we feel and how we think.

It is also helpful in the establishment of a person’s space in the world and it can decide which kind of aims a person has set and how he is going to achieve those goals.

Bandura’s General Self-Efficacy Scale

TheGSES or General Self-Efficacy scale was developed for those who are above 12 years of age.

This scale is used for the assessment of perceived self-efficacy because it is related to adopting abilities and coping daily activities and stressful situations.

The concept of self-efficacy is about how a person perceives his capability or the types of resources he might rely on, apart from what they possess.

Albert Bandura has described four different sources of self-efficacy. These are described below.

Mastery Experiences

Bandura believed that a person’s personal experience is the main tool of developing a powerful sense of efficacy.

The sense of self-efficacy is enhanced through performing the task successfully.

But, on the contrary, if a person remains unsuccessful to handle and execute his task then his sense of self-efficacy might get weaker or low.

Social Modeling

Social modeling means to see or experience other people around who are getting successful in completion of their tasks.

Social Modeling can also be helpful in establishing self-efficacy.

Bandura believed that if you see a person, who is similar to you, getting successful and completing his task.

It will also be influential for you to build confidence in yourself and in your abilities more than it was before the completion of the task.

Social Persuasion

This is another important factor in building self-efficacy is social persuasion.

This is when you compliment someone or give encouragement which is helpful in overcoming doubts in yourself and you put all your efforts in the task to make it successful.

Psychological Responses

A person’s emotions, physical reactions, moods and his stress levels might impact his feelings about his abilities to be successful in his task.

Such responses are considered helpful in building self-efficacy.

Why does it matter?

To have self-confidence and self-beliefs in yourself can potentially overcome hindrances is both consequence and a cause of factors related to social mobility or social issues.

In 200, Boardman and Robert explored that living in a poor neighbourhood causes a low level of self-efficacy while in 1996, Bandura and colleagues (1996) explored that a person who has a high level of self-efficacy basically predicts academic success.

Children’s Self-Efficacy Scale

Self-efficacy can be helpful in children as well in the development of their sense of mastery which eventually strengthens self-belief system.

Those children who have a high level of self-efficacy are considered hard working, they are optimistic and they are less vulnerable to feel anxious. High levels of self-efficacy in children make them less prone to any danger.

A child who has a high level of self-efficacy is more likely to be successful academically and also tend to achieve a healthier sense of well-being.

Those children who have a high level of self-efficacy have a good sense of motivation, immense ability to recover, they are less vulnerable, and they also have good ability to have productive thoughts whenever they face a challenge.

The Self-efficacy questionnaire for children is considered a better questionnaire for the measurement of self-efficacy in children.

Academic Self-Efficacy Scale for Students

This scale for self modified knowledge is considered as a great tool to determine the links between self-efficacy and academic performance.

Academic self-efficacy focuses majorly on students’ beliefs about what they are capable of doing and what they are not capable of doing in contrast to individual resources.

Those students who have a high level of self-efficacy are more inclined to pick difficult and complex tasks as compared to those students who have low level of self-efficacy.

As, they avoid those challenging tasks.

In 1995, Schunk and Zimmerman found that this type of self-efficacy also consists of self regulated learning that is considered helpful for students to utilise their potential to make a plan, control and make arrangements for the execution of their plan, preparation of learning products and activities.

Those students who have a high level of self-efficacy are likely to score good academically and demonstrate a consistency in science subjects and engineering subjects as well as compare to those students who have low levels of self-efficacy.

Furthermore, those students who have a high level of self-efficacy utilise their cognitions very well when it comes to planning managing their time, learning and regulating their own efforts.

This questionnaire offers proof validity and internal consistency.

A research conducted by Alegre in 2014, on university first year students, in Peru and Lima showed a significant and positive relationship between academic performance and academic self-efficacy.

A positive correlation between self-regulated learning and academic performance was also found.

Career Decision Self-Efficacy

This scale was developed to determine a person’s self-belief which he can best utilise while making good decisions about his career and future.

This scale has five subscales which are used for the measurement of five Career Choice Competencies of John O. Crites’ Theory of Career Maturity.

The Career DecisionSelf-Efficacy Scale was developed by Karen Taylor and Nancy Betz for measuring the self-efficacy of decision making regarding future.

The longer and original form of this questionnaire was developed in 1983 while it was developed in short form in 1996 which include best items from the original scale.

Self-efficacy Scale for Exercise

In 2000, Resnick and Jenkins proposed that self-efficacy scale for exercise is self-reported scale which is helpful for determining a person’s feelings about his exercise habits.

This scale has a score from 0 to 90. If a person scores a higher number on this scale it means he has higher self-efficacy.

A study has revealed that self-efficacy beliefs are vital particularly for those who are adults.

Differences in age are perceived constraints which means that there are many hindrances in achieving the goals as a person grows older.

If a person consistently believes that he is able to continue his exercise when he feels tired or busy, it potentially increases the chances that he will continue doing exercise.

How to best measure self-efficacy?

The importance of self-efficacy cannot be denied because it is helpful for a person to fight against psychological issues.

As, self-efficacy can be measured by many other scales. But, Self-Efficacy Survey is considered a good option.

As, this scale comes up with socio-cognitive theory of Bandura.

The purpose of designing this Self-Efficacy Survey is to evaluate different areas of life. For example, Intellectual, Family, Educational, Professional, Social, Religious, Erotic, Moral and Life Health.

150 items were created for this survey along fifteen items for each number. Each item’s validity was examined by two expert judges.

Irrelevant and unacceptable items from this survey were sacked which left a total of 130 items.

246 participants were taken and remaining questions were examined on these participants.

Other assessment tools

Several other types of assessment tools are available to determine self-efficacy. New General Self-Efficacy Scale is one of them.

This scale was developed by Chen, Eden and Gully in 2001.

The purpose of General Self-Efficacy Scale is to provide a measurement of self-efficacy which is used to improve the original self-efficacy scale of 17 items created by Sherer et al. In 1982.

This scale is considered to have a higher construct validity despite it is available in a shorter version.

Another scale was designed in 2014 by Zhao, Flores, Chaichanasakul, Lopez and Tsai.

The purpose of this scale is to measure the self-belief of a person in his potential and skills to gain a better understanding of his strengths which are considered useful in his daily life.

Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale was developed by Bandura.

The purpose of designing this questionnaire is to make a person able to understand what factors are involved in creating problems for school teachers in performing different activities.

The goal of this scale is to measure efficacy which influences decision making process, resources at school, disciplinary efficacy, instructional efficacy,parental involvement, building a good environment at school and enlisting community involvement.

FAQs about Self-Efficacy 

Q1. What is self-efficacy?

A person’s capability of judging his environment and and his ability to demonstrate behaviours which are necessary for environment.

Q2. What are different sources of self-efficacy?

Following are the few main sources of self-efficacy;
Mastery experiences
Vicarious experiences
Verbal persuasion
Emotional and physiological states.

Q3. What causes low self-efficacy?

A person who has low self-efficacy and doesn’t perform his task well is likely to make an assumption that he could not perform well due to high level of complexity of task and it is out of his control.

Q4 What causes high self-efficacy?

When a person doesn’t perform well in performing a task he will not blame the complexity of the task, rather he will say that he didn’t prepare well for it and he will come up stronger next time.

Q5. How can a person achieve self-efficacy?

A person who lacks self-efficacy can improve it in many ways.

For example, by taking moderately difficult tasks, by using peer models, encouraging accurate attribution etc.


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