Skip to content

Social cognitive theory – Self-efficacy

Social cognitive theory – Self-efficacy

A child with high self-efficacy may select more challenging goals, be more motivated, and ultimately demonstrate higher goal-related performance, compared to a child with similar skills and lower self-efficacy.

Strategies to enhance self-efficacy include facilitating performance accomplishments (e.g. child successfully performs behaviour), vicarious experience (e.g. watching someone else successfully perform the behaviour), providing verbal persuasion (e.g. positively encouraging the child to successfully perform a behaviour), and the experience of emotional arousal (e.g. reducing stress when he or she performs behaviour).

In this theory the basis is based on whether the child believes they have the self-efficacy to drive the change that is needed. E.g. a child may have a goal to increase their walking endurance and knows that by increasing their physical activity levels this will help with the experiencing difficulty he/she is experiencing with longer distances at school.

Self-Efficacy, Beliefs and Goals: Moderation of Declining Physical Activity during Adolescence

Rod K. Dishman, Kerry L. McIver, Dr. Marsha Dowda, Ruth P. Saunders, Russell R. Pate

Health Psychol. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2020 Jun 1.

Published in final edited form as: Health Psychol. 2019 Jun; 38(6): 483–493. Published online 2019 Apr 11. doi: 10.1037/hea0000734

Huang C, Dannenberg AL, Haaland W, Mendoza JA. Changes in Self-Efficacy and Outcome Expectations From Child Participation in Bicycle Trains for Commuting to and From School. Health Educ Behav. 2018;45(5):748‐755. doi:10.1177/1090198118769346