The Role of Self-Efficacy in Health

Hidden away in our subconscious are the beliefs by which we live. We make decisions every day based on these beliefs without thinking about them. What happens when these beliefs are challenged? Do we shy away from a challenge because we doubt our abilities, or do we welcome the challenge and rise to the occasion?

What is Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy is a person’s belief, or confidence, in his or her ability to be successful in certain situations. The concept of self-efficacy, a core aspect of social cognitive theory, originated from psychologist Albert Bandura. According to Bandura, self-efficacy has an impact on all aspects of our lives; emotional, psychological, motivational, and is a strong predictor of behavior change.

Self-efficacy beliefs, or self- perceptions, provide the foundation for well-being, personal accomplishments, and life choices. A person with a high sense of self-efficacy approach tasks as a challenge rather than a threat to be avoided. They set challenging goals, maintain a strong sense of commitment to them, and recover after setbacks or failures attributing these failures to lack of knowledge and skills which can be acquired (Bandura 1977). Overall, self-efficacy is concerned with people’s beliefs in their capabilities to exercise control over their functioning and over the events that affect their lives.

Self-Efficacy in Health

Self-efficacy provides a way of tapping into the power of consumers to engage in their health. Studies tell us there is a strong relationship between self-efficacy and behavior change. A critical factor in determining how successful a person will be in taking control of, and improving their health depends on their level of self-efficacy. People may understand their health is determined by their behavior, but  believe they lack the knowledge and skills necessary to make those changes. Their success depends on several factors;

  • their successes and failures with behavior change
  • their level of committment
  • the time and effort they are willing to invest in the face of obstacles.
  • their ability to interpret results and make adjustments along the way
  • their emotional state and thought patterns
  • verbal encouragement from others

 Improving Self-Efficacy

Self-management programs directly target the enhancement of self-efficacy. Building a sense of confidence comes from the ability of learning new skills, mastering them, and successfully incorporating them into daily life. Active self-managers,  build confidence in their ability to;

  • increase your knowledge about your health and heath care needs
  • self monitor
  • problem-solve and decision-make
  • communicate effectively with your health care team
  • find and use community resources
  • make healthy lifestyle choices

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How confident are you?

How confident are you in your ability to make decisions about when to seek medical help?

Not at all 1_______________________________5______________________________10 Confident

 

How confident are you that you can discuss your health problems with your doctor?

Not at all 1 ______________________________5_______________________________10 Confident

 

How confident are you that you can manage your chronic condition on a daily basis?

Not at all 1 ______________________________5_______________________________10 Confident

 

Source: Stanford Patient Education Research Center

 

 

 

 

 



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