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Posted: September 28th, 2023

The theory of Self-Efficacy using the internal and external criticism evaluation process

Using the criteria presented in week 2, critique the theory of Self-Efficacy using the internal and external criticism evaluation process.

Self-Efficacy Theory
Self-efficacy theory, proposed by Albert Bandura in 1977, is a cognitive social learning theory that emphasizes the role of observational learning and social experience in the development of personality. According to Bandura (1977), self-efficacy refers to an individual’s belief in their ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task. Self-efficacy beliefs influence thought patterns and emotions that enable actions in order to successfully execute a specific task.
Internal Criticism
An internal criticism of self-efficacy theory examines the internal consistency, coherence, and logical validity of the theory’s core concepts and principles (Creswell & Poth, 2018). Overall, self-efficacy theory demonstrates strong internal consistency and logical validity. The theory is built upon four main sources of influence on self-efficacy: mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, social persuasion, and physiological states (Bandura, 1977). Each of these sources contributes to an individual’s sense of self-efficacy in a coherent manner. For example, successful mastery experiences strengthen self-efficacy beliefs through personal accomplishment, while vicarious experiences influence self-efficacy through social modeling (Bandura, 1977). The theory also logically predicts that higher self-efficacy leads to greater effort and persistence when facing difficulties (Bandura & Adams, 1977).
External Criticism
An external criticism evaluates the theory based on empirical research testing its hypotheses (Creswell & Poth, 2018). Considerable research has supported self-efficacy theory and its four main sources of influence. For example, research has shown mastery experiences to be the most influential source of self-efficacy (Usher & Pajares, 2008). Studies have also demonstrated relationships between self-efficacy and academic performance (Zimmerman, 2000), career choices (Lent et al., 2003), health behaviors (Strecher et al., 1986), and coping with stressors (Schwarzer & Warner, 2013). However, some research has found inconsistencies. For example, social persuasion did not influence mathematics self-efficacy as strongly as expected (Usher & Pajares, 2006). Additionally, self-efficacy measures lack cross-cultural generalizability at times (Eden & Aviram, 1993). Overall, while considerable empirical support exists, some mixed findings highlight areas for further refinement of the theory.
In summary, self-efficacy theory demonstrates strong internal consistency and logical coherence. Considerable empirical research also provides support, but some mixed findings point to needs for further refinement. The theory offers a useful framework but could be enhanced by addressing inconsistencies across contexts and cultures.
Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84(2), 191–215.
Bandura, A., & Adams, N. E. (1977). Analysis of self-efficacy theory of behavioral change. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 1(4), 287–310.
Creswell, J. W., & Poth, C. N. (2018). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches (4th ed.). SAGE.
Eden, D., & Aviram, A. (1993). Self-efficacy training to speed reemployment: Helping people to help themselves. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78(3), 352–360.
Lent, R. W., Brown, S. D., & Hackett, G. (2003). Social cognitive career theory. In Brown, D. & Associates (Eds.), Career choice and development (4th ed., pp. 255-311). Jossey-Bass.
Schwarzer, R., & Warner, L. M. (2013). Perceived self-efficacy and its relationship to resilience. In S. Prince-Embury & D. H. Saklofske (Eds.), Resilience in children, adolescents, and adults: Translating research into practice (pp. 139–150). Springer.
Strecher, V. J., DeVellis, B. M., Becker, M. H., & Rosenstock, I. M. (1986). The role of self-efficacy in achieving health behavior change. Health Education Quarterly, 13(1), 73–92.
Usher, E. L., & Pajares, F. (2006). Sources of academic and self-regulatory efficacy beliefs of entering middle school students. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 31(2), 125–141.
Usher, E. L., & Pajares, F. (2008). Sources of self-efficacy in school: Critical review of the literature and future directions. Review of Educational Research, 78(4), 751–796.
Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Self-efficacy: An essential motive to learn. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(1), 82–91.

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