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Self-Efficacy

  • By: Thomas Hugh Feeley
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Self-efficacy is a theory of behavior change that predicts that individuals' likeliness to undertake a given behavior is a function of their efficacy and outcome expectations related to the given behavior. The theory was introduced by Albert Bandura, whose earlier work in social learning theory provided much of the inspiration for self-efficacy theory.

Efficacy expectations represent the first factor in the theory and are based upon individuals' perceptions of their ability to successfully undertake a given behavior. An individual asks him or herself, “Can I successfully undertake this action?” Consider, for example, the behavior of smoking cessation: one would evaluate his or her perceived ability to quit smoking. These expectations are a necessary condition to affect behavior change. That is, individuals must believe they can undertake ...

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