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Social psychology of self-efficacy

Melissa Soto

PSY 3011

South University

April 24,2022

Self-efficacy is a broad literature that discusses the belief of a person about his ability to accomplish. Mastery, control, and human agency are included in this topic and not to mention the issues that are related to mastery, control, and human agency. In social psychological research, self-efficacy has become an important variable because it has a huge impact on human mental and physical health.

The article “Self-efficacy” explains the theory of self-efficacy in social psychology. This article discusses the variables of self-psychology including control, trait agency, and optimism. It also demonstrates the development of self-efficacy in the field of psychology and how social structure can affect this development. A person’s domain-specific judgments of his capacity to accomplish his goals or actions required to obtain desired outcomes are referred to as self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is an assessment of one’s ability to perform the necessary acts. It does not just a view that explains if a person will perform these actions to attain the intended goals. Social cognitive theory helps to improve its understanding. Human emotional behavior, motivation, and cognition help us to show how humans interact with the environment. This theory suggests that our behavior, environment, and emotional factors are interlinked. One factor helps to shape another and the other does the same. Our personalities and self-perceptions are social constructs. When they encounter others as a response they constantly change. As a result, these personalities or perceptions never stay exactly the same but they frequently change. A person’s views and personality change with a change in conditions.

In the treatment of psychological disorders, self-efficacy beliefs have been postulated as critical mechanisms of behavior change. However, encouraging results were found when early self-efficacy research looked into this theory in the context of anxiety disorder treatment. Bandura showed that people’s willingness to confront their phobias’ objects was predicted by changes in self-efficacy beliefs throughout therapy. This willingness to confront their fears was a symptom of recovery. Therefore, preliminary findings suggest that a variety of psychological problems could be treated by interventions aimed at self-efficacy beliefs. Furthermore, studies by different researchers looked into different disorders such as depression, obesity, substance misuse, and a variety of other illnesses and studied the effectiveness of its interventions for the treatment of those diseases. Nonetheless, it is crucial to keep in mind that self-efficacy, as previously stated, is based on a notion of triadic reciprocal determinism, in which environmental, behavioral, and personal factors are entangled (Gallagher, 2012).

However, self-efficacy matters in the field of psychology and in general too. In another review of the article, the importance of self-efficacy is explained and it shows how it develops. Researchers including Bandura explained how psychological states, motivation, and behavior are controlled by self-efficacy. The sources of self-efficacy through which it develops are social modeling, psychological responses, social persuasion, and mastery experiences.

Through mastery experiences, one can develop self-efficacy. It develops successfully when a person performs a task. Failure to do any challenge can weak self-efficacy. Another source is social modeling. When a person witnesses other people accomplishing their goal, the beliefs of the observer raises too and they start to trust their selves and their abilities. People can also be persuaded according to Bandura. When you socially interact and someone encourages you to achieve your goal, your self-doubt decreases. That verbal encouragement helps you to do your best. Last but not least physiological responses are another important source that helps to develop self-efficacy. Personal abilities in a particular situation can be affected by a person’s physical reactions, emotions, stress levels, and mood.

Difficult tasks look like threats to those who have low self-efficacy. They usually avoid challenges and are afraid of commitments. When they experience obstacles, they quit. Thoughts of failure occurred to them because they lack trust and confidence in themselves. For people who overthink and lack confidence, stressful events become difficult to handle. They are less resilient and less likely to recover because of low self-efficacy (Cherry, 2020).


Gallagher, M. W. (2012). Self-Efficacy. In Encyclopedia of Human Behavior: Second Edition (2nd ed.). Elsevier Inc.

Kendra Cherry. (2020). Self Efficacy and Why Believing in Yourself Matters. Verywellmind, 1–18.

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