Adolescence and Education, Volume V
Self-Efficacy Beliefs of Adolescents

Edited by Frank Pajares and Tim Urdan


A Volume in the Series Adolescence and Education
Published by Information Age Publishing, Greenwich, CT
Publication Date: 2006
Available from Amazon.com [paperback] [hardcover]


Foreword — Frank Pajares and Tim Urdan


  1. Adolescent Development from an Agentic Perspective
    Albert Bandura

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    Different periods of life present certain prototypic challenges and competency demands for successful functioning. Changing aspirations, time perspectives, and societal systems over the course of the life span alter how people structure, regulate, and evaluate their lives in the lifelong voyage. Psychosocial changes with age do not represent lock-step stages through which everyone must inevitably pass as part of a preordained developmental sequence. There are many pathways through life, and at any given period, people vary substantially in how successfully they manage their lives in the milieus in which they are immersed. The beliefs they hold about their capabilities to produce results by their actions are an influential personal resource as they negotiate their lives through the life cycle.
            Social cognitive theory analyzes developmental changes across the life span in terms of evolvement and exercise of human agency. When viewed from the perspective of social cognitive theory, the paths that lives take are shaped by the reciprocal interplay between personal factors and diverse influences in ever-changing societies. The environment in which people live their lives is not a situational entity that ordains their life course. Rather, it is a varied succession of transactional life events in which individuals play a role in shaping the course of their personal development. Some of the influential events involve biological changes. Others are normative social events linked to people's age status and their roles in educational, familial, occupational, and other institutional systems. Virtually everyone engages in these latter activities at certain phases in their development. Other life events involve unpredictable occurrences in the physical environment or irregular life events such as career changes, divorce, migration, accidents, and illnesses. Still other influences are fortuitous events that can inaugurate individuals into new life trajectories.

  2. Adolescents' Development of Personal Agency: The Role of Self-Efficacy Beliefs and Self-Regulatory Skill
    Barry Zimmerman and Timothy Cleary

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    Adolescence is a pivotal developmental period in which youth begin to form an enduring sense of personal identity and agency about themselves. Self-efficacy is a key belief underlying adolescents' motivation to act intentionally. Neither a trait, like global self-concept, nor an inborn drive for personal control, self-efficacy beliefs are sensitive to variations in the conditions and outcomes of actual performance. The empirical advantages of this contextually- linked measure of perceived capability is considered. In this chapter, the author discusses the historic origins, definition, and distinctive features of self-efficacy beliefs. Historically, Bandura's decision to distinguish self-efficacy from outcome expectations is recounted, and self-efficacy is contrasted with alternative self-related constructs. The causal role of self-efficacy beliefs in human functioning is considered from a triadic reciprocal perspective. In agentic transactions, people are both producers and products of social systems. Social and behavioral events that lead to changes in self-efficacy are discussed along with the impact of self-efficacy beliefs on adolescents' motivation and behavioral outcomes. Research on modeling, performance and social feedback influences on self-efficacy beliefs and personal attainments are surveyed, as well as research on reciprocal causation between adolescents' self-efficacy beliefs and their use of self-regulatory processes, such as goal setting, strategy use, and causal attributions. In addition to personal self-efficacy beliefs, collective self-efficacy beliefs are considered, such as regarding one's effectiveness as a member of a group in accomplishing their mission. Finally, the pedagogical implications of research on self-efficacy are discussed.

  3. Self-Efficacy Development in Adolescence
    Dale H. Schunk and Judith L. Meece

    In this chapter, the authors begin by defining adolescence and noting that it is a time of great changes: personal (physical, cognitive, social, emotional), academic (school transitions, responsibility, independence), self-identity, peer friendships. They then examine developmental changes in adolescents' self-efficacy, which they define and exemplify. How self-efficacy changes has important implications for adolescents' future in school, personal relationships, and career choices. They conclude the introductory section with a chapter overview. In the second section, the authors introduce Bandura's social cognitive theory, and they explain the notion of triadic reciprocality and give examples. The remainder of this section focuses on self-efficacy: its causes, consequences, and sources of information for assessing. They discuss the major influences on children's self-efficacy including families, peers, and schooling. They conclude by discussing the assessment of self-efficacy to include how measures are constructed and tailored to content areas. In the third section, the authors provide an overview of research on self-efficacy in adolescence. Many factors come together during adolescence to affect self-efficacy. The authors discuss the key roles played by parents, peers, and school influences. To broaden the discussion, they include research on constructs conceptually similar to self-efficacy, such as perceptions of competence and perceived ability. They summarize developmental and educational research that addresses each of the key influences, as well as research on the stability of self-efficacy in adolescents as identity processes are beginning to influence their self-perceptions. In the fourth section, implications for teaching and parenting are provided. The authors discuss some key implications of theory and research for teaching and parenting. Some critical points are that teachers and parents need to be cognizant of the multiple influences on self-efficacy, help adolescents to make responsible decisions that build self-efficacy, work to smooth out transitions, and teach adolescents strategies for successfully dealing with conflicts that arise at home, with peers, and in school. In the concluding section, the authors discuss self-efficacy as a key mechanism in adolescence. At no other time is self-efficacy so vulnerable due to many changes in adolescents' lives. Future research—especially longitudinal research—shows the course of self-efficacy development from childhood to early adulthood and suggest ways that parents, teachers, counselors, and others who work with adolescents can help to foster their self-efficacy and skill development.

  4. Developing and Using Parallel Measures of Career Self-efficacy and Interests with Adolescents
    Nancy Betz

    One of the most frequently used new variables in career education and counseling with adolescents is measures of self-efficacy which parallel well-known and commonly used measures of vocational interests. Consistent with the postulates of the Lent, Brown and Hackett Social Cognitive Career Theory, self-efficacy is now considered an important variable in career counseling. In this chapter, the authors describe the advances in the assessment of self-efficacy with regard to basic domains of vocational activity and their use with parallel measures of vocational interests, for example the General Occupational (Holland) Themes and Basic Interest Scales of the Strong Interest Inventory. The interesting and important case where there is evidence of interests in the presence of low self-efficacy are highlighted, as interventions in this area hold promise to increase the range of career options considered by adolescents.

  5. Preparing Adolescents to Make Career Decisions: A Social Cognitive Perspective
    Steven Brown and Robert Lent

    Social cognitive career theory (SCCT) represents an effort to extend Bandura's general social cognitive theory to the context of career development. SCCT is specifically concerned with understanding how (a) academic and career-related interests develop, (b) how interests and other factors give rise to educational and career choices, and (c) what factors affect the quality of people's performance and persistence behavior in school and work settings. The theory draws on basic social cognitive constructs such as self-efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations, and goals in explaining these interrelated aspects of career development. In this chapter, the authors provide an overview of those parts of SCCT that have most relevance for adolescents' career decision making and transitions from school to college or work. The authors build on research findings and their earlier theoretical statements to suggest practical ways in which parents, teachers, and counselors can help to promote adolescents' career options, e. g., through the influence they can have on students' academic/career self-efficacy, outcome expectations, goals, and skill development opportunities.

  6. Too Much Confidence? The Self-Efficacy of Adolescents with Learning Disabilities
    Robert M. Klassen

    Adolescents with learning disabilities frequently have difficulties accurately evaluating their academic skills and predicting their performance. Self-efficacy plays an important role in the academic functioning of students in a wide variety of settings, but the efficacy beliefs of students with learning disabilities may be mis-calibrated, resulting in insufficient preparation and poor performance. This chapter begins with a review of the literature on the self-efficacy beliefs of adolescents with learning disabilities (LD). Motivational and metacognitive difficulties of students with LD are briefly discussed, followed by a synopsis of calibration issues relating to students with LD. Studies exploring the efficacy beliefs of adolescents with LD are summarized and analyzed in terms of the nature of the sample, the performance task or domain, the self-efficacy measure used, the research question and outcomes, and the accuracy of calibration between perceived self-efficacy and task outcome. Following this review, results of a multi-method study investigating the academic self-efficacy and other motivational beliefs of adolescents with and without LD in Grades 8 through 12 are reported. Follow-up focus group sessions provide rich descriptions of how adolescent students with and without LD gauge their efficacy beliefs in relation to subsequent performance. To conclude, recommendations are made to improve the efficacy calibration and the academic functioning of adolescents with learning disabilities.

  7. Teacher Self-Efficacy and its Influence on the Achievement of Adolescents
    Anita Woolfolk Hoy and Heather A. Davis

    In this chapter, the authors explore established, likely, and possible connections between teachers' efficacy judgments and adolescents' academic achievement. Four sections address the conceptualization of teacher self-efficacy and its role in adolescent achievement as well as encourage readers to consider the breadth of potential outcomes, the landscape and coordination of teaching self-efficacy domains and the underlying mechanisms driving the relationships between teacher self-efficacy and adolescent learning and development. The first section provides a brief explanation of teachers' sense of efficacy, including its conceptual framework and critical issues related to measurement. In the second section, findings regarding the different domains of teaching self-efficacy and their influence on students' academic achievement are evaluated and reviewed. The authors then address findings regarding teachers' sense of efficacy for classroom management, motivation, and student engagement, and the ways that these perceptions are related to student academic achievement. They also examine emergent research on teachers' sense of efficacy for establishing and maintaining positive relationships with adolescents. In the third section, the authors turn to noncognitive outcomes that are important for adolescent learning and development, including the possible impact of teacher self-efficacy on student self-regulation, interest in subjects, future orientation, goals, and risk-taking. Equally important is the consideration of teacher correlates of teaching efficacy judgments that may also influence the quality of adolescents' classroom experience. The chapter ends with a discussion of areas in which research and investigation are required.

  8. Self-Efficacy, Adolescent's Risk-Taking Behaviors, and Health
    Ralf Schwarzer and Aleksandra Luszczynska

    Adolescents tend to take more risks than do adults in various domains of life, including health-related risk behaviors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, poor diet, unsafe sex, reckless or drunk driving, or violence. Risk prevention and risk behavior change, therefore, should be discussed from a developmental or life-span perspective. Changing health-related behaviors requires two separate processes that involve motivation and volition, respectively. First, an intention to change is developed, in part on the basis of self-beliefs. Second, the change must be planned, initiated, and maintained, and relapses must be managed. Self-regulation plays a critical role in these processes. Social-cognition models of health behavior change address these two processes. One such model, the health action process approach, is explicitly based on the assumption that two distinct phases must be studied longitudinally–one phase that leads to a behavioral intention and another that leads to the actual behavior. Particular social-cognitive variables may play different roles in the two stages; perceived self-efficacy is the only predictor that seems to be equally important in the two phases. The chapter points to the influential role that self-efficacy and self-regulatory strategies (such as planning) play in translating goals into action. The study contributes to the current debate on stage theories of health behavior change and the orchestration of self-beliefs and strategies in the context of goal-directed behaviors.

  9. The Impact of Perceived Family Efficacy Beliefs on Adolescent Development
    Gian Vittorio Caprara, Eugenia Scabini, and Camillo Regalia

    In this chapters, the authors address filial efficacy, parental self-efficacy, and collective efficacy, primarily drawing on finding from their own longitudinal project and related studies. The chapter is in three parts. The first is devoted to a review of previous literature and introduces the three constructs (filial, parental and collective efficacy), focusing on family as a system resulting from various interlocking relations. The second part reports findings on the influence exerted by filial, parental and collective efficacy on adolescents' well-being and well-adjustment. The third part focuses on the importance of viewing family as a system made by various subsystems attesting to the agentic properties of individuals (and generations) serving in different roles and facing different life tasks.

  10. Factors Influencing Academic Achievement in Collectivist Socities: The Role of Self, Relational, and Social Efficacy
    Uichol Kim and Young-Shin Park.

    International studies of academic achievement place East Asian students at the top of mathematics and science achievement and near the top in reading literacy. However, some 80 years ago, Asians were considered "genetically inferior" and, and they were barred from immigrating to the USA until 1965. Korea, for example, had one of the lowest literacy and educational level after the Korean War, but Korean students currently have one of the highest achievement scores. The success of East Asian students can be traced to internal factors (e.g., traditional Confucian and family values) and external factors (e.g., the emphasis on progress and viewing education as the basis for national development). Existing psychological and educational theories that emphasize individualistic values (e.g., innate ability, intrinsic interest, and self-esteem), however, cannot explain the high level of achievement of East Asian students. In contrast, self, relational, and social efficacies have direct and mediating influence on educational achievement. The Confucian-based socialization practices that promote close parent-child relationship are responsible for high levels of self-regulatory, relational, and social efficacy. Self-regulatory efficacy is a powerful predictor of students' academic performance. Relational efficacy and social support received from parents have a strong influence on students' academic performance. Social efficacy and social support received from teachers are important factors when students are young. When they enter high school, social support received from friends becomes important. A series of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies document the importance of self, relational and social efficacy in predicting academic achievement. In contrast, collective efficacy in influencing the school and educational system is low. As a result, levels of bullying and school violence have increased in recent years. Detailed analysis of and implication of these results are discussed.

  11. Self-Efficacy of Adolescents across Culture
    Gabriele Oettingen and Kristina Zosuls

    This chapter begins with a brief review of the major findings on self-efficacy beliefs in adolescents. Based on these findings, the author asks to what extent origins and consequences of self-efficacy beliefs in adolescence vary within cultural contexts. The author considers the role that cultural factors such as values, beliefs, and self-regulatory processes play as both potential sources of self-efficacy appraisal and potential consequences of self-efficacy beliefs. Consequently, the chapter focuses on the self-efficacy of adolescents as both the product and the cause of cultural context. Finally, the author considers variables that may moderate the influence of culture on adolescents' self-efficacy beliefs as well as variables that may moderate the influence of self-efficacy beliefs on cultural context.

  12. Self-Efficacy and Youth in Sport and Physical Activity
    Deborah L Feltz and T. Michelle Magyar

    Self-efficacy is considered one of the most influential beliefs thought to affect achievement strivings in sport and physical activity. In this chapter, the authors begin with a brief definition of sport and physical activity, followed by an overview of self-efficacy theory. This serves as the backdrop from which they examine self-efficacy as a determinant and consequence of sport and physical activity. Specifically, they discuss the potential influence of self-efficacy on performance in sport and physical activity. As an outcome, the authors consider the role of sport and physical activity participation as a powerful source of efficacy beliefs and subsequent achievement related behaviors. Also reviewed are issues pertaining to the measurement of self-efficacy specific to sport and physical activity settings. In the section on contemporary research, the authors consider the integration of self-efficacy and other achievement related theories (e.g., achievement goal theory), longitudinal changes in self-efficacy over time (e.g., over the course of a competitive sport season), and performance enhancement interventions (e.g., imagery) that have resulting changes in efficacy beliefs. This is followed by a review of research on self-efficacy in elite adolescent athletes and collective efficacy in adolescent team sports. The chapter concludes with summary remarks and recommendations for future research in this area.

  13. Asking the Right Question: How Confident Are You That You Could Successfully Perform These Tasks?
    Mimi Bong

    Since Bandura proposed his theory of self-efficacy, it has been recognized as one of the most important developments in the explanation of human functioning. It is now difficult, if not impossible, to explain phenomena such as motivation, self-regulated learning, and performance without resorting to the role of self-efficacy beliefs. As the construct of self-efficacy is widely applied to many disparate sectors of learning and performance, its assessment has also taken a variety of forms and shapes. Unfortunately, some of these assessment techniques and procedures deviate from Bandura's original prescriptions. As such, they often end up with something other than self-efficacy beliefs under the disguise of self-efficacy, which at times works as a main source of confusion and misunderstanding toward the self-efficacy effects. Research in academic motivation and achievement of adolescents is no exception to this trend. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss some of the common mistakes that are observed in the studies of adolescent motivation and achievement in assessing self-efficacy beliefs and the likely impact these less-than-optimal procedures might have had on relevant results. Next, several guidelines on how best to operationalize self-efficacy beliefs in the academic settings are offered, following the advice of Bandura as well as other prominent researchers in the field. The chapter provides concrete examples of self-efficacy assessment, along with examples of other seemingly analogous constructs as points of comparison.

  14. Guide for Creating Self-Efficacy Scales
    Albert Bandura

    In this guide, Professor Bandura provides theoretical guidelines, insights, and examples to help researchers and practitioners create self-efficacy scales in various domains.

  15. Self-Efficacy During Childhood and Adolescence: Implications for Teachers and Parents
    Frank Pajares

    Self-efficacy researchers have made noteworthy contributions to the understanding of academic motivation, but the connection from theory and findings to practice has been slow. Classroom teachers, parents, administrators, and policy makers may well be impressed by the force of research findings arguing that students' self-efficacy beliefs exercise an important influence on their behavior, but they are apt to be more interested in useful educational implications, sensible intervention strategies, and practical ways to alter self-efficacy beliefs when they are inaccurate and debilitating to children (or teachers, or administrators). In this brief coda to the volume, Professor Pajares offers practical guidelines to teachers and parents on ways to safeguard and, when appropriate, enhance the self-efficacy of adolescents. The primary aim is to offer school practitioners and parents some practical implications that flow from the findings presented in the volume.

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