Motivation and emotion/Book/2022/Self-efficacy and achievement

Self-efficacy and achievement:
What role does self-efficacy play in achievement outcomes?


This chapter explains what self-efficacy [missing something?], the theory of self-efficacy, self-efficacy and achievement, and how self-efficacy affects achievement outcomes. Current research [factual?] suggests that self-efficacy [missing something?] positively correlated with achievement outcomes due to mastery experiences, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and physical and emotional state. Self-efficacy is affected by a range of factors that will result in different levels of achievement depending on how the [what?] four sources affect them.

What is self-efficacy?Edit

Albert Bandura (Canadian-American social psychologist) defined self-efficacy as a person’s belief in their capability to successfully perform a particular task. Self-efficacy is a powerful predictor of motivation and how well a person will perform a task (Heslin & Klehe, 2006). It is also the ability to translate skills that an individual has already learned into an effective performance whether that be in terms of their work, academics, health, hobbies etc. (especially under challenging circumstances) (Johnmarshall Reeve, 2018, p.g 231). A strong sense of self-efficacy stimulates human accomplishment and personal well-being[factual?].

For example, someone who exhibits good self-efficacy usually has a better outlook on challenges they face and are more likely to overcome them, as they are able to believe that they can complete a task. Self-efficacy has also been linked to a sense of self-worth or value as a human being. Different people will exhibit different levels of self-efficacy, Johnmarshall Reeve lists them as: [Use a numbered list]} '(1) the choice of activities and selection of environments, (2) the extent of effort and persistence put forth during the performance, (3) the quality of thinking and decision-making during the performance, and (4) emotional reactions, especially those related to stress and anxiety' (2018, p.g 235). This can be broken down into four sources of efficacy: mastery experiences, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and physical and emotional state. Based on whether a person exhibits high self-efficacy or low self-efficacy response to the four sources will be different between each individual, ranging from high to low. The difference in levels of self-efficacy assist in promotion of positive or negativity perceived personal achievement.[factual?]

High self-efficacyEdit

Research has provided evidence to support that high self-efficacy promotes better performance, quality of thinking, achievement, reduced anxiety, and stress[factual?]. But what does high self-efficacy look like? Those who attribute high self-efficacy exhibit self-mastery, role-modelling, and verbal persuasion simultaneously (Heslin & Klehe, 2006). However, extremely high self-efficacy can lead to excessive risk-taking, dysfunctional diligence, and failure to have realistic judgement, which may result in serious injury and relationship breakdown in the long term (Heslin & Klehe, 2006). People who exhibit high self-efficacy over long periods of time often lead to burnout (Friedman, 2003). When high self-efficacy is managed, it is observed as high performers, devotion, and confidence in one’s ability.

Low self-efficacyEdit

Someone who experiences low self-efficacy often will sense feelings of self-doubt, insecurity, anxiety, depression, and failure. They do not believe that they can complete a task or do not even attempt to do things that they perceive as impossible, usually resulting in procrastination and poor work ethic (Klassen et al., 2008). Research suggests that if low self-efficacy continues over a long period, it can develop into learned helplessness and cognitive distortions on reality – leading to a depressive state (Shnek et al., 1997).

When comparing high and low self-efficacy it is important to note that though many people would ideally want to experience high self-efficacy extreme versions of both is not healthy and it is important to maintain a balance to stay productive and retain function.

Self-efficacy is a person’s ability to motivate and complete a task to a certain level, this level is dependent on how high or low self-efficacy is being exhibited. Higher self-efficacy usually results in higher performance and low self-efficacy usually results in lower performance.

Theory of Self-efficacyEdit

Bandura's social cognitive theory of self-efficacy points to the distinction between general beliefs about control and that occur in a specific situation, emphasising the difference between the two outcomes' probability and efficacy expectations (Lev et al., 1997). The four sources of efficacy describe this in more depth.

The first source, mastery experiences, is derived from interpretations regarded to the performance of a particular task or situation, and typically comes from one’s interpretations of their own performance (Joet et al., 2011). Mastery experience is the own personal experience of success which relates to the ability and confidence in completing tasks (Yeh et al., 2019). If an individual feels as if they are succeeding in a task, their self-efficacy would rise. Alternatively, if they felt as if they were failing this same task their self-efficacy would decrease. Therefore, if one was to believe in their ability, set a go and continue towards their goal this would be described as exhibiting mastery experiences. Current research has suggests that is the best predictor for achievement out comes.

Vicarious experience is the act of observing other people completing a task, which raises the belief that you the observed can then also complete that same task. This is particularly effective when observing a role model completing tasks as we consider them to be like us making the task seem more achievable (Wilde & Hsu, 2019). Vicarious experience has been found to work better when the observer empathises with the person who is completing the task, this is likely to increase the observer's self-efficacy more than if they didn’t empathise with the person completing the task (Kudo & Mori, 2015).

Thirdly verbal persuasion is the impact that our own words can have on other people's self-efficacy. Verbal persuasion can be seen as affirmation from others which could increase self-efficacy (Hendricks, 2016). However, verbal persuasion can create unfounded or unrealised expectations which can damage self-efficacy, it is also easy to accomplish but not as effective as providing opportunities with continuing increases of challenge and risk (Hendricks, 2016). Nevertheless, verbal persuasion gives learners the information they interpret and evaluate, making it easier for the learner to complete a task by themselves, therefore, promoting more self-efficacy (Margolis & Mccabe, 2006)

Finally physical and emotional state;[grammar?] is how an individual interprets their emotional and physiological states. Moods and emotional states of an individual affect the way that they see themselves and how they interoperate the world around i.e., their environment and the challenges they face. Emotional state plays a role in forming self-efficacy as it demonstrates a relationship between positive and negative emotions (Samson & Solmon, 2011). For example, if you were to associate a task with a positive emotional state you would be more likely to complete the task, therefore, promoting high self-efficacy. Alternatively, if you associate a task with a negative emotional state, you would be less likely to complete a task, endorsing low self-efficacy.

The four sources of self-efficacy can exhibit high and low self-efficacy through both internal and external pressures being mastery experiences, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and physical and emotional state. All of these, however, is dependent on one’s view of performance and cannot be dependent on the behaviour of others.

Check and revise
1) Out of the four sources of efficacy, which one is the best predictor of achievement outcomes? Why do you think this may be the case? [What is the answer?]

Self-efficacy and Achievement OutcomesEdit

Achievement goal theory states that when performing achievement-related tasks, individuals can fluctuate in their state of involvement directed toward a task or ego goals (Liem et al., 2008). Albert Bandura's theory of self-efficacy refers to an individual's belief in his or her capacity to execute behaviours necessary to produce specific performance (1997). Self-efficacy further states that those who exhibit low self-efficacy tend to avoid tasks accomplishing compared to those who have high self-efficacy (Kumar Pradhan et al., 2020).

Health and wellbeing achievementEdit

Self-efficacy can be used to assist in the improvement of health by using goal-setting techniques such as self-management.

The effects of self-efficacy on health achievement were investigated through questionaries[spelling?] given out to patients with rheumatoid arthritis[factual?]. Before the investigation, it was predicted that the encouragement of setting physical activity goals land[spelling?] developed plans detailing how they will achieve those goals will encourage self-efficacy leading to health achievement. The results from their questionnaire indicated that creating plans to increase patient's self-efficacy promotes higher motivation leading to better achievement in health outcomes. Their findings established that this was due to mastery experiences used with goal achievement as it continues to the cycle of self-improvement (Knittle et al., 2011).

Well-being is the feeling of happiness/satisfaction with varied life experiences (Kumar Pradhan et al., 2020). Someone who experiences well-being achievement lives in a positive mental state, contempt of their surrounding and exhibit high self-efficacy.[factual?]

A study conducted in India, which included a survey filled out by 572 public and private organisation workers looked at self-efficacy and workplace well-being[grammar?]. It was concluded that self-efficacy promotes workplace well-being as self-efficacy guides individuals (the worker's) actions and helps their future planning. Individuals with higher self-efficacy also have more coping strategies and demonstrate a positive attitude towards well-being. Overall, it was suggested that higher self-efficacy results in improved mental and physical health, and flourishing healthy lifestyles (Kumar Pradhan et al., 2020).

Academic AchievementEdit

Students of all different levels of study deal with academic achievement. But what role does self-efficacy play in academic achievement outcomes? Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy implies that for students to achieve academic achievement they must be able to believe that their action will result in success and then perform this action (Alhadabi & Karpinski, 2019).

Studies have used self-efficacy as a predictor of academic performance, indicating that it has a role in academic achievement.

An analysis of this was conducted on 78 students from 4 cities in Turkey. 62% were girls and 38% were boys, from middle school and high school (grades 7 through 11). Self-efficacy and academic performance were measured by using the student engagement scale and the expectancy of self-efficacy for the adolescent scale, along with other performance predictors. The research correlation between self-efficacy and academic performance concluded that self-efficacy is a stronger [stronger than?] predictor of academic performance. This is because students who expressed higher self-efficacy were found to spend more time learning, and exhibit higher student engagement, how self-determination and higher confidence in completing tasks (Dogan, 2015)[grammar?]. All these traits associate with Albert Bandura's theory of self-efficacy[awkward expression?].

Loo & Choy investigated the influence of self-efficacy on the mathematics academic achievement of engineering students in 2013. The participants were third-year students (129 males and 45 females) aged 19-25. They were asked to fill out a 40-item questionnaire (adapted from the sources of mathematics self-efficacy scale). The research findings indicated that there was a positive correlation between self-efficacy and academic performance, resulting in greater academic achievement (cumulative GPA). It was also indicated that out of the four sources of efficacy, mastery experience had the strongest influence on the student’s self-efficacy in relation to academic achievement (Loo & Choy, 2013). However, although these findings are significant it was suggested that they should not be generalised, and more research should be conducted in this area[vague].

Goal AchievementEdit

Goal achievement is when an individual consciously sets goals and achieves them through planning and believing in their capabilities (Schunk, 1990).

An examination conducted on university students studying at a Norwegian university discussed whether self-efficacy positively correlated with goal achievement. They hypothesised that self-efficacy is usually positively correlated with mastery goal orientation, and it can be used to predict both mastery- and performance-approach goals. This is due to the power if previous mastery experiences. For example, if a student had experienced prior academic performance in the area they are currently studying, they are more likely to achieve the future goals they set for themselves (Preceding achievement → self-efficacy → goal orientations → learning strategies → subsequent achievement). The results suggested that prior achievement is a source of self-efficacy which leads to future achievement, supporting the idea that self-efficacy guides the achievement of goals (Diseth, 2011).

Another study was done, looking into self-efficacy and goal achievement, stimulating teachers' reflection and feedback asking: An interplay of self-efficacy, learning goal orientation, and transformational leadership. This paper investigated how seeking feedback and reflection improves self-efficacy, known as verbal persuasion. It was suggested that verbal persuasion positively affects self-efficacy as it opens individuals to new ideas, promoting improvement through asking questions. Making it easier for one to overcome failure and improve oneself to achieve their goals (Runhaar et al., 2010).

Check and revise
2) How does self-efficacy help in the development of plans for future goals? Do you think self-efficacy theory is a valuable tool for planning goals?[What is the answer?]

Role of self-efficacy in achievement outcomeEdit

It is now clear the role that self-efficacy plays in achievement outcomes. For someone to have an achievement outcome they would:

  1. Be able to visualise their goals and see themselves completing them. This would include them having a skill set from prior experiences or being able to learn new things with the skills they already have.
  2. Plan their way of achieving their goals. This would be done by either using their experience (mastery experiences) or through watching other people succeed before completing a task (vicarious experiences). Planning would be done by setting mini goals or tasks that the individual would be able to overcome with their current ability while building on skills to complete their own goal, resulting in achievement.
  3. Have guidance from people surrounding them. Being able to talk to others and experience encouragement helps someone to complete tasks when they start to seem harder to do or when one loses faith in their own ability (verbal persuasion). This will help in promoting self-efficacy and increase the potential for achievement
  4. Finally checking in with self (physical and emotional state). If an individual is not in a mental or physical state to complete a task, self-efficacy is low, and the likelihood of achievement is lowered. When the physical and emotional state is in a good condition high achievement is more plausible.
Case study (fictional)
Olivia has a large assignment coming up which is worth 50% of her grade. She is very stressed as it is the last semester of her degree and if she doesn’t do well in this assignment, she may not graduate by the end of this year leading to what she associates as a failure.

The assignment is a large research report which is not Olivia’s strong point. She has completed them before, however not to a good standard, and she relied on her exam results to get her through that unit. However, in this case, there is no exam for her current unit. Oliva already thinks that she is going to fail this unit before she has even started the assignment.

Self-efficacy theory suggests that Olivia’s self-efficacy is low, she is not motivated and believes she will fail without even starting her assignment.

Using mastery experiences, we could encourage Olivia to compare this assignment to things she has already completed and done well, we could also suggest that she looks at the comments from her last assignment on where she could improve and what her strengths were.

Vicarious experiences would suggest that she talks to some of her friends that are doing the same unit as her and watch them succeed at the assignment to motivate her, as she may feel motivated by this as someone, Olivia sees as like herself.

Verbal persuasion would encourage Olivia’s friends to reassure and motivate Olivia with their words. Saying that she can complete this assignment if she puts her mind to it. Telling her that she is smart enough and has the tools to do this assignment. This would impact her own beliefs, making her feel as though she can do this assignment as others believe she can.

The theory of self-efficacy puts emphasis on Olivia's physical and emotional state, it is crucial for Olivia to look after her mental health at this time as emotional conditions, physical reactions and stress levels can all impact how a person feels about their personal capabilities. It is essential for her to talk to those around her a seek professional help if needed.

Using self-efficacy will help Olivia to visualise completing her goal (doing well in the assignment), create a plan which should include collaborating with others, and seek help if needed. The first step of self-efficacy is believing in one's ability to use their skill to achieve their goal.

Check and revise
3) Usuing[spelling?] self-efficacy theory, what plans would you put in place for Olivia for her to achieve a positive outcome for her assignment? [What is the answer?]


Self-efficacy is an individual’s ability to complete a task by using skills they have already acquired through life experience. Different levels of self-efficacy can result in there being dangers of extremes, too high self-efficacy resulting in risk taking behaviours and low self-efficacy resulting in stress and depressive tendency. It is important to work on maintaining a balance, avoiding extremes, maintaining good health. When maintained, self-efficacy can be used to predict a range of real-world achievement scenarios, health and wellbeing, academic and goal achievement. The use of different internal self efficacy for achievement targets can be used to benefit people, through planning, seeking help, goal setting and maintain/building skills. Self-efficacy is a great predictor for motivation and through set processes plays a large role in achievement outcome.

See alsoEdit


Alhadabi, A., & Karpinski, A. C. (2019). Grit, self-efficacy, achievement orientation goals, and academic performance in University students. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 25(1), 519–535.

Diseth, Å. (2011). Self-efficacy, goal orientations and learning strategies as mediators between preceding and subsequent academic achievement. Learning and Individual Differences, 21(2), 191–195.

Friedman, I. A. (2003). Self-efficacy and burnout in teaching: The importance of interpersonal-relations efficacy. ''Social Psychology of Education'', ''6''(3), 191–215.

Hendricks, K. S. (2016b). The sources of self-efficacy. ''Update: Applications of Research in Music Education'', ''35''(1), 32–38.

Heslin, P. A., & Klehe, U. C. (2006). Self-efficacy. ''Encyclopedia Of Industrial/Organizational Psychology'', SG Rogelberg, ed, 2, 705-708

Joet,G., Usher, E.L.,& Bressoux, P. (2011). Sources of self- efficacy. An investigation of elementary school students in France. ''Journal of Educational Psychology, 103, 3,649-664''.

Klassen, R. M., Krawchuk, L. L., & Rajani, S. (2008). Academic procrastination of undergraduates: Low self-efficacy to self-regulate predicts higher levels of procrastination. ''Contemporary Educational Psychology'', ''33''(4), 915–931.\

Knittle, K. P., De Gucht, V., Hurkmans, E. J., Vlieland, T. P. M. V., Peeters, A. J., Ronday, H. K., & Maes, S. (2011). Effect of self-efficacy and physical activity goal achievement on arthritis pain and quality of life in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Care & Research, 63(11), 1613–1619.

Kudo, H., & Mori, K. (2015). A preliminary study of increasing self-efficacy in junior high school students: Induced success and a vicarious experience. ''Psychological Reports'', ''117''(2), 631–642.

Kumar Pradhan, R., Prasad Panigrahy, N., & Kesari Jena, L. (2020). Self-Efficacy and Workplace Well-Being: Understanding the Role of Resilience in Manufacturing Organizations. Business Perspectives and Research, 9(1), 227853372092348.

Lev. (1997). Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy: Applications to oncology. ''Research and Theory for Nursing Practice'', 11(1), 21–.

Liem, A. D., Lau, S., & Nie, Y. (2008). The role of self-efficacy, task value, and achievement goals in predicting learning strategies, task disengagement, peer relationship, and achievement outcome. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 33(4), 486–512.

Margolis, H., & Mccabe, P. P. (2006). Improving self-efficacy and motivation. ''Intervention in School and Clinic'', ''41''(4), 218–227.

Reeve, J. (2018). ''Understanding motivation and emotion''. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Runhaar, P., Sanders, K., & Yang, H. (2010). Stimulating teachers’ reflection and feedback asking: An interplay of self-efficacy, learning goal orientation, and transformational leadership. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(5), 1154–1161.

Samson, A., & Solmon, M. (2011). Examining the sources of self-efficacy for physical activity within the sport and exercise domains. ''International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology'', ''4''(1), 70–89.

Schunk, D. H. (1990). Goal Setting and Self-Efficacy During Self-Regulated Learning. Educational Psychologist, 25(1), 71–86.

Shnek, Z. M., Foley, F. W., LaRocca, N. G., Gordon, W. A., DeLuca, J., Schwartzman, H. G., Halper, J., Lennox, S., & Irvine, J. (1997). Helplessness, self-efficacy, cognitive distortions, and depression in multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury. ''Annals of Behavioral Medicine'', ''19''(3), 287–294.

Weiser, D. A., & Riggio, H. R. (2010). Family background and academic achievement: does self-efficacy mediate outcomes? Social Psychology of Education, 13(3), 367–383.

Wilde, N., & Hsu, A. (2019). The influence of general self-efficacy on the interpretation of vicarious experience information within online learning. ''International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education'', ''16''(1).

Yeh, Y., Chen, S.-Y., Rega, E. M., & Lin, C.-S. (2019). Mindful learning experience facilitates mastery experience through heightened flow and self-efficacy in game-based creativity learning. ''Frontiers in Psychology'', ''10''.\