Frequently Asked Questions About Self-Efficacy

It is not common to say that you are someone with high self-efficacy. It often comes with words like self-esteem and self-worth. However, self-efficacy is just as important, particularly in specific situations like job interviews or membership activities.


Self-efficacy refers to the belief we have in our ability to complete tasks, overcome challenges, or find solutions to problems. It is a major factor that can determine our potential for success in life. Self-efficacy is a more practical concept in contrast with self-worth and self-esteem. It looks into an individual’s actions and behaviors instead of how they view or value themselves.

Albert Bandura, a well-known psychologist, coined the term self-efficacy. He proposed the social cognitive theory and the Bobo doll experiment. Bandura states that a person’s motivation and well-being come from a sense of self-efficacy. You can develop and strengthen your sense of self-efficacy through the following sources of influence:

  • Mastery Experiences

This is also known as performance outcomes. The state of a person’s self-efficacy is strongly reliant on this factor. The more successes you attain in life, the stronger your self-efficacy will be. Experiencing failures only weakens an already weak sense of self-efficacy. Successes must result from difficult obstacles or challenges to permanently benefit your self-efficacy.

  • Vicarious Experiences

Seeing people similar to you succeed in what they do or what they try can also boost your self-efficacy. Through observation and vicarious learning, you can learn to understand and be confident about your ability to create or solve something. Seeing other people perform well and comparing their success to your potential is a significant factor in self-efficacy.

  • Social Persuasion

This is also known as verbal persuasion. Receiving comments or feedback that speak of your ability to accomplish specific tasks boosts self-efficacy. Discouragement or negative statements, however, will result in the opposite effect. 

  • Emotional States

This fourth factor refers to how you interpret, perceive, or understand certain things that affect you on an emotional or physiological level. It is your reaction that is important rather than the volume or intensity of a particular stimulus. Positive responses increase a person’s sense of self-efficacy. Adverse or harmful reactions may reduce it.

This article goes through the most frequently asked questions about self-efficacy related to psychological theories and applications.

What is self-efficacy theory in psychology?

Psychologist Albert Bandura described self-efficacy as individuals’ beliefs in their capacity to control their function and situations that impact their lives. A person’s sense of self-efficacy provides the basis for well-being, personal achievement, and motivation. 

What are the four ways one can develop self-efficacy?

Bandura documented the four primary sources of self-efficacy. These include social modeling, mastery experience, psychological responses, and social persuasion.

What are some examples of self-efficacy?

Below are two examples of self-efficacy:

  • A confident student is capable of learning information and knowing that he will do excellent on an examination. 
  • A woman who struggles to deal with her chronic diseases, yet she is confident that she will regain herself and improve her health by striving hard and following her doctor’s orders. 

What are the two types of self-efficacy?

Experts suggest that various self-efficacy types commonly embody one of two broad classifications or components of the concept of self-efficacy – a regulatory component and a task component. 

What is the difference between self-efficacy and self-confidence?

Suppose the word ‘confidence’ in this setting means possessing a strong belief in himself, whether in something negative or positive. In that case, self-efficacy implies that you have a solid and optimistic view that you have the skills and the capability to accomplish your goals. This difference is vital.

What are the key principles of self-efficacy theory?

The theory of self-efficacy states that people tend to perform activities to the point where they see themselves as competent. The four self-efficacy sources are vicarious experience, physiological and emotional states, performance accomplishments, and social persuasion.


Why is self-efficacy important?

Self-efficacy can play a vital role in how individuals deal with their nutrition, health, illnesses, and health psychology. For instance, possessing a solid sense of self-efficacy helps a person try his best to stop smoking and stick to his goals. 

Is Self Efficacy a skill?

Self-efficacy is a component of the self, which comprises a person’s abilities, attitudes, and cognitive skills. Hence, self-efficacy is a valuable part of a self-system. 

Is Self Efficacy a personality trait?

A person’s traits and qualities and self-efficacy function on distinct levels – personality traits may be considered defining an individual’s intrinsic character. In contrast, self-efficacy signifies how the individual deals with his behavior and interacts with his surroundings and circumstances. 

How do you use the word efficacy?

Efficacy is the capacity of a person to do a task to an acceptable or anticipated degree. The word efficacy originates from the same root word as effectiveness, and it has frequently been used interchangeably. However, in the field of pharmacology, a distinction is now made between effectiveness and efficacy. 

How can I make my sense of self stronger?

You can build a stronger sense of self by:

  • Defining your values. These, along with your personal beliefs, are the major aspects that make up your identity. 
  • Spend quality time alone.
  • Create a plan on how to accomplish your goals. 
  • Practice making your own decisions. These decisions should primarily, if not always, mainly benefit your well-being and your health. 

How does self-efficacy affect behavior?

Self-efficacy refers to a person’s sense of control over his behavior and environment. It influences the time and work that one puts into something to change his behavior and the perseverance to move forward despite setbacks and obstacles that may challenge his motivation. 

How do you teach self-efficacy?

Below are some strategies that you can teach to those who need to improve on their self-efficacy:

  • Focus on the person’s interests. 
  • Use moderately challenging tasks. 
  • Provide encouragement and motivation to the person concerned. 
  • Encourage proper recognition.
  • Allow the person to make his own decisions and choices.

What is the self-efficacy theory of motivation?

In the theory of self-efficacy, an individual’s beliefs become a principal, precise justification for motivation. Self-efficacy is the having trust that you can do a specific task or of attaining a particular goal. Remember that the belief or the faith and the goal or the action are specific. 

How is self-efficacy measured?

The new General Self-Efficacy Scale developed by a team headed by psychologist Gilad Chen is now being used to measure self-efficacy. It is a scale composed of eight items that assess and calculate how much a person believes they can attain their goals despite barriers and challenges. 


Self-efficacy is one of the most underrated concepts of psychology that people must learn more about. Understanding self-efficacy enables you to leverage moments, actions, and people in your lives that have affected you positively.


You can also look back and recall how specific kinds of encouragement, discouragement, or response have shaped you to become who you are today. In doing so, you would be able to rectify inevitable mistakes and develop better approaches moving forward.

It is vital to strengthen self-efficacy through challenges and difficulties in life. If you do not face any challenges, it will be easy for your high level of self-efficacy to plummet. 

High self-efficacy has multiple benefits to the day-to-day life of an individual. Resilience in the face of adverse circumstances and stressful situations is one such benefit. It should lead to better decision-making and life choices, even with your food consumption, exercise, and social interactions with others. 

There is a large body of evidence that indicates the relationship of self-efficacy with human accomplishments and positive well-being. These are important as they represent an optimistic outlook in life and a sense of self. These ultimately benefit you and the people who surround you.

Having a robust understanding of self-efficacy goes hand-in-hand with your willingness and perseverance to accomplish tasks and overcome hindrances in life, no matter how long or tiring it may be. 

People with a firm belief or sense of self-efficacy can indeed do greater things and be better people in life. There is no point or stage in life in which it is too late to work on self-efficacy. The best time to begin is now. Regardless of your pursuits in life, be it social, artistic, political, or scientific, higher self-efficacy will lead you to your full potential.