Keywords: potency, benefit, value, productiveness, effectiveness, perseverance

Introduction to Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy is frequently conceptualized as confidence or some form of innate ability to overcome situations.  In addition to this ideology, self-efficacy can also be seen as one’s prowess to successfully adapt to different situations or as a change in beliefs towards one’s competence.  Some of the earliest theory on the subject comes from Albert Bandura, a psychologist who heavily studied the concept of self-efficacy as well as the many different variables that may influence it.  Although self-efficacy has been linked to many academic outcomes, it has also been researched in regards to topics that fall under the umbrella of student affairs, such as influences of race or retention rates. 

When Would You Measure Self-Efficacy?

Student affairs professionals may want to measure self-efficacy if their goal is to gauge:

  • Students’ perception of their ability to accomplish a task
  • Changes in ability as a result of changes in thinking processes
  • Attitudes towards oneself or towards a role within a group
  • Perceptions of success across different environments or arising needs



Those wanting to measure self-efficacy may find it helpful to start their research by reviewing similar evidence-based literature:

Self-efficacy: Towards a unifying theory of behavioral change (Bandura, 1977) 

  • Bandura provides a framework for understanding what self-efficacy actually is and how both cognitive and behavioral tendencies influence actions.


Role of Self-Efficacy, Stress, Social Integration, and Family Support in Latino College Student Persistence and Health (Torres & Solberg, 2001)

  • The authors examine a model of self-efficacy that relates to familial support, perceived stress levels, and health outcomes among Latino students.

Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy, Perceived Stress, and an Integrated Model of Student Persistence: A Structural Model of Finances, Attitudes, Behavior, and Career Development (Sandler, 2000)

  • The author provides a model for understanding how future career self-efficacy operates in relation to financial status, cognitive processes, and mental wellness.


Frequently Used Instruments/Measures

The following instruments/measures have been used to assess self-efficacy:

  • Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale
  • Guide for Constructing Self-Efficacy Scales (Bandura, 1977)


Don’t Think This Construct Matches Your Assessment Goals? Check Out These Related Constructs: Mindsets, Motivation

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