Edited By Do Kyun Kim and James W. Dearing
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NICHOLE EGBERT,Kent State University& PHILLIP R. REED,Kent State University
Albert Bandura (1977) pioneered the concept of self-efficacy as a “unifying theory of behavioral change” (p. 91) and based on the state of behavioral theory nearly 50 years later he did not overstate his case. Self-efficacy has become a key component of nearly every theory of behavior change used by social scientists, including the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991), protection motivation theory (Maddux & Rogers, 1983), the health belief model (Rosenstock, Strecher, & Becker, 1988), and the extended parallel process model (Witte, 1992). It might be said that no other single concept has had such an impact on predicting and promoting behavioral change through communication messages as self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is defined as a person’s perceived ability to execute a specific behavior in a specific situation, and should not be misconstrued as a general trait or personality characteristic (Strecher, DeVellis, Becker, & Rosenstock, 1986).
Bandura argued that self-efficacy beliefs are highly context specific (1977); they depend not only upon the specific skill needed to complete a task, but also upon the perceived difficulty of that skill and the context in which the skill is carried out. Therefore, items in a self-efficacy measure must be tailored specifically to the skill relevant to the study outcomes. Whether adapting an existing measure or designing an entirely new one, there are several considerations that are key to effective...
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