Bandura and Adams- Self-efficacy

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  • Created on: 25-08-13 08:32
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Background theory and Psychologists:
Assumptions/ Approaches/Perspective:
Theory/Model/ Concept definition:
Self-efficacy: the belief in oneself to organise and execute a course of action (Your belief in your ability to
succeed or fail in a situation).
If you are more confident, you're more likely to succeed!
People with a strong efficacy view challenges to be mastered; people with a weak efficacy avoid challenging
4 factors affect a person's self-efficacy:
1) Enactive influences: Past experiences of success and failure affect an individual's self-efficacy (More
success in past results in a higher self-efficacy)
2) Vicarious influences: If we are able to identify with someone who has already been successful in
carrying out a health behaviour, it will increase our self-efficacy. We compare ourselves with others and
judge our own competence accordingly.
3) Persuasory influences: Other people persuading an individual they will be successful increases
4) Emotive influences: Over anxiety can cause and individual to feel incapable of succeeding which
decreases our self-efficacy. It is our psychological responses.
Methodological and theoretical issues and debates:
Holistic- 4 different factors are considered, both social and cognitive factors
Generalizable to other behaviours
Deterministic- high self-efficacy leads to success
Self-efficacy- assessed on a rating scale which can lead to demand characteristics and thus low validity.
Title and Authors: Analysis of self-efficacy theory of behavioural change- Bandura and Adams (1977)
Aim: To assess the self-efficacy of patients undergoing systematic desensitisation in relation to their behaviour
with previously phobic objects
Method: Controlled quasi-experiment with patients with snake phobias
Participants and/or sampling: 10 snake phobia patients who replied to an advert in a newspaper (self-selected
sample) 9 females 1 male aged 19-57 years
Pre-test assessment: each patient was assessed for avoidance behaviour towards a boa constrictor, then fear
arousal was assessed with an oral rating of 1-10 and finally efficacy expectations (how much they thought they
would be able to perform different behaviours towards snakes). Their fear of snakes was also measured on a
scale, along with their own rating of how effectively they would be able to cope.
Systematic desensitisation: a standard desensitisation programme was followed, where patients were introduced
to a series of events involving snakes and at each stage taught relaxation. These ranged from imagining looking at
a picture of a snake to handling live snakes
Post-test assessment: each patient was again measured on behaviours and belief of self-efficacy in coping
Higher levels of post-test self-efficacy were found to correlate with higher levels of interaction with
Desensitisation enhanced self-efficacy levels, which in turn led to a belief that the participant was able to cope
with the phobic stimulus of a snake

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High ecological validity: a real snake phobia was investigated
Small sample size (ungeneralisable- gynocentric)
Lab experiment: allows for high control over extraneous variables so the IV can be tested on the DV so cause and
effect can be established reliably
Self-report method: social desirability, low validity
Not specific to health behaviours
Likert rating scale: provides quantitative data + makes phobias comparable
Usefulness: could help other phobias and treatment
Reductionist: high internal validity
Reductionist: ignores other factors
Highly controlled variables
Snap-shot research: don't know if…read more


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