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Self-Efficacy: The Power Of Believing You Can

James E. Maddux

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The basic premise of self-efficacy theory is that “people's beliefs in their capabilities to produce desired effects by their own actions” (Bandura, 1997, p. vii) are the most important determinants of the behaviors people choose to engage in and how much they persevere in their efforts in the face of obstacles and challenges. Self-efficacy theory also maintains that these efficacy beliefs play a crucial role in psychological adjustment, psychological problems, physical health, as well as professionally guided and self-guided behavioral change strategies. This chapter provides an overview of self-efficacy theory and research by addressing three basic questions: (a) What is self-efficacy? (b) Where do self-efficacy beliefs come from? (c) Why is self-efficacy important? The chapter also discusses “collective efficacy”—group members' beliefs in their ability to collectively accomplish shared goals.