psychology

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Difference between Self Confidence and Self Efficacy

When the word self-efficacy is heard, it is often understood as self-confidence by many people. Self–confidence is not the same as self- efficacy. So, what does it mean by self-confidence and self efficacy. According to M. Colman (2002), self-confidence is defined as a trust or assertion in oneself, believing in one’s aptitude, making a choice which maybe referring to a general context or to a specific event or doings. Some people recognise self-confidence as self-assurance. On the other hand, according to M. Colman, self-efficacy can be defined as the capability to attain the required outcome. Speaking of perceived self-efficacy generally means that the person has a lot of faith in his or her aptitude that the wanted outcome can be achieved. As mentioned by M. Colman, the concept of self-efficacy was broadly acknowledged in the course of power of Albert Bandura (the founder of the concept Observational Learning) who was born in the year 1925 in Canada but grew up and practised psychology in United States of America. This concept of self-efficacy became famous during the 1980s as well as the 1990s, which was later concluded in Bandura’s book entitled Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control, which was only published in the year 1997. According to A. Fast, L. Lewis, J. Bryant, A. Bocian, A. Cardullo, Rettig and Hammond (2010), those with self-efficacy tends to have higher level of desire, higher obligation and are also able to restore themselves after facing with failure better than those with poorer height of self-efficacy. According to Carmona, P. Buunk, Dijkstra and M. Peiro (2008), people with higher levels of self-efficacy tends to view heavy responsibilities as challenge to be tackled other than viewing it as danger or risk that has to be stayed away from at all times. Then arises the second question, does self-efficacy affect performance? For an example, for a person who believes that he or she is very good in mathematics and has all the skills and ability to solve high standard of mathematical problems (especially algebra, trigonometry and calculus); does he or she actually has higher performance level in the mathematics examination at the end of the term? The word performance, according to Hornby (2005) is define as how good or successfully a person carries out an activity. According to M. Colman, the word performance can be understood as the course of administering a series of activities.

Carmona, P. Buunk, Dijkstra and M. Peiro (2008) conducted a study on 120 university students, which comprised of 58 Females and 62 Males. The participants in their study were between the ages of 19 to 30 years old (mean age= 22.23 years old). Carmona et al. got the participants to fill up the questionnaire on goal orientation, social comparison responses and self-efficacy (questionnaire entitled Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire, which is also known as MSLQ by Pintrich and De Groot, 1990) and were given five EUR each for their willingness to partake in this study. The MSLQ probes on the participants’ own potential in doing well in their class, course, or their subject. This questionnaire was then matched with the participants second trimester grade (mean of the grade taken) to test on their performance. They found that self-efficacy had a significantly strong positive relationship with performance. In other words, participants with high self- efficacy had high performance achievement. The findings of this study do bring substantial understanding as it was conducted among students who should be tested on performance and self-efficacy. This is because students are the people whose self-efficacy is would be different among one another depending on their personality, work load, pressure, family background and so on, thus can be tested against their performance without experiencing any difficulty.

In a study conducted by Williams and Williams (2010), the relationship between self-efficacy and mathematics was investigated. This study was done on students ages 15 years old from 33 nations, which includes Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Indonesia, Thailand, Uruguay and many more countries. One of the measurements used was the Mathematics self-efficacy (how confident are you to solve the mathematical problem were asked). While the other measurement used was the mathematics achievement (open ended question, structured questions and multiple choice questions) where both the measurements were taken from The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2003 Mathematics Achievement Test, which focuses on self-efficacy students have on mathematics and compare it with their performance in mathematics. They also found that females have lower level of self-efficacy compared to males where the mathematics is concerned. Although this study was difficult to be carried out as the researches had to find the balance between which grades of the 15 year olds from the various countries would easily match each other to ease the process of this study, the findings of this study can well be generalized due to the wide range of participants.

A. Fast, L. Lewis, J. Bryant, A. Bocian, A. Cardullo, Rettig and Hammond (2010) carried out a research among 1163 primary school students which comprised Latino, Caucasion, African American, Asian, Pacific Islanders, Filipino and American Indian in California. There were 594 Females and 569 Males in this study. The participants were given the California Standard Test (CST) for Mathematics and the Student Motivation Questionnaire (SMQ). A. Fast et al. found that students with elevated intensity of self-efficacy had elevated marks in their final math exam given at the end of their term. Although this study was focused only on the Californians, yet the significant results obtained can be accepted as the number of participants was large enough.

B. Yeo and Neal (2006) conducted a study on 93 psychology students (mean age=19.53 years old). The participants were inclusive of 36 males, 56 females and 1 unknown gender. The participants were asked to whether two aircraft that put in pairs will collide into each other as they are flying or have a smooth journey without colliding into each other. The preciseness and how fast the participants can guess the answer was noted. A exact answer were given up to 40 points while for a wrong answer, 25 points will be taken away. The general self-efficacy was measures using the New General Self-Efficacy Scale by Chen, Gully and Eden (2001). The results obtained showed that the self-efficacy was related to task performance with a significance, p (p<.01). Other than that, they also found that the difference between general self-efficacy and task-specific self-efficacy. Task-specific self-efficacy here means that a person who is a dancer has high self-efficacy in dance and not a general self-efficacy on her (as a whole) and thus, performs very well in his or her dance competition. B. Yeo and Neal also concluded that those with higher level of task-specific self-efficacy performs better when compared to someone who has lower level of task-specific self-efficacy. This is due the fact that he or she become skilled at something quicker than the other person since he or she sets higher ambition, maintain perseverance when confronted by challenges and uses different strategies to achieve the goal at stake. Although the participants were less, this study did an exclusive comparison between task-specific self-efficacy and general self-efficacy. Thus, the results obtained can certainly be well accepted.

Tierney and M.Farmer ( ) conducted a study on several organizations that allowed the researchers to study the employees (became participants in this study). The researchers focus on their creative way for resolve issues. The participants were given the Creative Role Identity Scale, which focuses on the staffs’ innovative style, innovative self-efficacy and related it with the inventiveness within that job’s conditions. They found that when the level of creative self-efficacy increases in a person, their creative performance increases too. The researchers have used a very different category of participants, the employees of organizations, which is quite different from the other studies that focused more on students.

On the other hand, a few studies have found very different results when compared to the earlier researches. Based on this study conducted by M. Schmidt and P. DeShon (2010), 73 participants where all of them were undergraduates with a mean age of 20.19 years old. The participants consist of 66% Females, 34% Males where 78% of them were Caucasians. The reason they participated in this study was that they were given course credits for it. The participants were asked on their self-efficacy level beforehand. Their self efficacy level was measured through two measures known as the self-efficacy magnitude and self-efficacy composite. They were than given an anagram assignment where they were suppose to find as many answer as they can or tell that there is no answer to the anagram. The participants were asked also on their ACT (American College Testing Program) and SAT scores to know their cognitive ability. In contrast to all the other studies, M. Schmidt and P. DeShon found that self-efficacy in general did not have any detectable relationship when tested against performance. But, when the self-efficacy was influenced by vagueness and then tested against performance, it was found that self-efficacy has a negative relationship with performance when influenced with higher level of ambiguity or also known as vagueness. In other words, when the level of vagueness in a situation is high, when self-efficacy is high the performance level drops lower. This study was done on a very small number of participants. Therefore, generalization of this is result should be not be considered that much. This study should be conducted on more people and on participants from different background (not just students) with equal number of males and females.

The results found in the study conducted by B. Vancouver, M. Thompson, Tischner and J. Putka (2002) is quite similar to the research finding of M. Schmidt and P. DeShon. The research done by B. Vancouver et al. was different from the other studies because they did a repeated measure where the same participants were investigated twice or more according to the study needs at different times rather than doing the most conventional method which is testing on one group of individuals once at one specific time only. Not only did they do a repeated measure, they also conducted two studies. In the first study, 78 college students were separated into two groups where for one of the group (46 students), self-efficacy was created while the other group was left neutral to act as a control group. They were given the Mastermind game to play. The robustness and enormity of self-efficacy was noted in each game and that it was found that when self-efficacy increased, performance reduced. While in the second study, 104 college students participated in the Mastermind game. Before and after the game, each participants self-efficacy level was measured. Self-efficacy was controlled at a few stages. In conclusion, B. Vancouver et al. found that when a person has high self-efficacy, overconfidence sets in and that eventually leads to making mistakes, thus, reducing the level of performance in a particular activity. This is a very complex study, yet they were able to make a point. Regardless of their findings, the effect of self-efficacy still plays an important part in detecting the level of performance.

In addition, in a study conducted by B. Vancouver and N. Kendall (2006), 65 participants (79% females and 21% males) with a mean age of 21 years old. The degree of self-efficacy, their goal level, and the time allocated to study and revise their work was noted and tested it against their performance. The results obtained from this study was that, as self-efficacy raised in a grade, the performance in exam by the participants reduced one-fourth of the grade obtained. The number of participants used in this study is too small to draw such a different conclusion when compared to many other journals that claims that self-efficacy has a positive relationship with performance.

Now that the both the negative and positive aspect of self-efficacy on performance has been seen, it would be easy to conclude that self-efficacy plays a very important and major contributor to performance. It can be said that when a person has higher the self-efficacy will perform better compared to those with lower self-efficacy. This statement can be confidently made because that is how important self-efficacy is to a person’s life. Without having any believe in a person’s own capacity, that person can never perform well in an activity or task. He or she will not have any drive to do anything if that drive does not come from within a person and that drive can also be called as self-efficacy.


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