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What is Self-Efficacy?

Find out the role of self efficacy in behavioural change.
an older person practicing yoga
© CQUniversity 2021

Efficacy is the ability to perform a task to a satisfactory or expected degree. The word comes from the same roots as effectiveness. In practice, efficacy for fitness is a client’s ability to follow directions outside of sessions, and to push themselves to achieve visible outcomes.

Self Efficacy takes on a central role in Bandura’s social cognitive theory.

Self Efficacy is a product of:

Expectations – perceived the ability to achieve a certain behaviour

Outcomes – expected success the behaviour will provide

Expectations mediate all behavioural change:

  • Determine whether an individual attempts a given task
  • The degree of persistence when the difficulty is encountered
  • Outcomes – ultimate success or failure.

Personal Efficacy

Based on 4 major sources of information

  • Performance experience or mastery – did activity or similar previously and had success
  • Vicarious or observational experience of others – see others enjoying themselves while engaging in activity
  • Verbal persuasion – encouraged by others already doing the activity
  • Emotional and physiological states – in the right frame of mind or physical condition

The stronger the self-efficacy, the more likely the individual will initiate and persist with specific behaviour.

Barring health factors, self-efficacy exerts a consistently powerful influence on the exercise behaviour of older adults.

© CQUniversity 2021
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