Is Self-Efficacy Social Psychology?


Diego Sanchez

Is Self-Efficacy Social Psychology?

In social psychology, self-efficacy refers to an individual’s belief in their own ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish particular tasks. It plays a crucial role in determining how people think, feel, and behave. Self-efficacy beliefs can have a significant impact on motivation, goal setting, and performance outcomes.

The Concept of Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy is a concept that was introduced by renowned psychologist Albert Bandura in the 1970s. According to Bandura’s social cognitive theory, self-efficacy is a key component of human agency. It influences the choices individuals make and the actions they take to achieve desired outcomes.

Bandura defined self-efficacy as:

“People’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives.”

Social Origins of Self-Efficacy

In social psychology, self-efficacy is considered a product of various social factors. These factors include:

  • Social Modeling: Observing others who are similar to oneself successfully perform a task can enhance self-efficacy. This is especially true when the observer identifies with the model and perceives the model as competent.
  • Social Persuasion: Verbal encouragement or feedback from others can influence an individual’s belief in their own abilities.
  • Performance Feedback: Experiences of success or failure in previous tasks can shape self-efficacy beliefs for future tasks.
  • Emotional States: Positive emotional states such as enthusiasm and excitement can boost self-efficacy, while negative emotional states like anxiety and fear can undermine it.

The Impact of Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy beliefs play a crucial role in various aspects of life, including:

  • Academic Achievement: Students with higher self-efficacy are more likely to set challenging goals, persevere through difficulties, and achieve better academic outcomes.
  • Career Success: Individuals with higher self-efficacy tend to be more motivated, resilient, and confident in their abilities. This often leads to better job performance and career advancement.
  • Health Behaviors: People with higher self-efficacy are more likely to engage in health-promoting behaviors such as exercise, healthy eating, and adherence to medical treatments.
  • Mental Health: Self-efficacy is linked to psychological well-being and resilience. Individuals with higher self-efficacy are better equipped to cope with stressors and overcome challenges.

Developing Self-Efficacy

The good news is that self-efficacy can be developed and enhanced. Here are some strategies that can help:

  1. Set Realistic Goals: Start with small, attainable goals and gradually increase the difficulty level as you experience success.
  2. Model Success: Surround yourself with individuals who demonstrate competence in the areas you want to improve. Observe their behaviors and learn from their experiences.
  3. Seek Supportive Feedback: Surround yourself with people who provide constructive feedback and encouragement.

    Their support can help boost your belief in your own abilities.

  4. Celebrate Achievements: Acknowledge your successes along the way. Celebrating small victories can reinforce your sense of competence and build confidence.


“Believing in yourself is the first step to success.”


In summary, self-efficacy is a crucial concept in social psychology. It refers to an individual’s belief in their own capabilities to succeed in specific situations.

Self-efficacy is influenced by various social factors and has a significant impact on motivation, goal setting, and performance outcomes. By understanding and developing self-efficacy, individuals can enhance their chances of success in various domains of life.