A Critique of the Theory of Self-efficacy Essay

A Critique of the Theory of Self-efficacy Essay

Self-efficacy is a person’s belief in their capacity to execute specific plans of action in prospective situations (Lopez-Garrido, 2020). Generally, it is an individual’s belief in their ability to succeed in a particular case. The self-efficacy theory was developed in 1977 by a psychologist known as Bandura. It postulates that an individual’s self-efficacy can influence motivation, achievement, and self-regulation.

The internal and external criticism evaluation process involves the accuracy and originality of information (Vitolla, Raimo, & Rubino, 2019). Internal criticism is trying to establish an author’s meaning and making a judgment as to the intention and prejudices of the writer. External criticism determines the validity by verifying the authenticity of a source. This paper presents a comprehensive critique of self-efficacy theory, using the internal and external evaluation process.

Internal criticism

Bandura’s self-efficacy theory is a social-cognitive theory that suggests that self-efficacy plays an integral role in influencing the achievement outcomes through its dynamic interplay of behavioral determinants and the environment. According to Klassen and Klassen (2018), the theorist believes that whereas self-efficacy affects an individual’s well-being, motivation, and achievements, the factors that influence behavior also influence the beliefs. People tend to be involved in things in which they are confident they can succeed as opposed to the ones they are not sure about success. The robustness of the theory provides enough evidence that the concept of behavior and environment cannot be ruled out when it comes to self-efficacy.

The theory’s constructs also maintain that four factors develop efficacy. These include performance outcomes, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and physiological feedback. However, other researchers after have proposed more factors that determine and develop self-efficacy. James Maddux, for instance, a psychology researcher, proposes the fifth factor, visualization or imaginal experiences (Lopez-Garrido, 2020). He believes that someone who tries to portray their goals as achievable is more likely to achieve the goals, which contributes to a higher self-efficacy.

External criticism

The first step in establishing the originality of a theory is by identifying if the theory is authentic, then the level of authenticity. In their analysis, Dammann et al. (2021) note that the model of authenticity proposed by Lehman stipulates that authenticity is determined by the consistency, conformity, and connection of a piece to the body of knowledge. The theory of self-efficacy has been used constantly in research and practice in various fields. Most researchers agree with the theory, and even some apply the theory’s framework in their work. The relationship between the theory and its contribution to the body of knowledge over time clearly shows that the theory is authentic.

The self-efficacy theory has been applied in education, economics, and, more importantly, nursing. For instance, the theory has been applied in nursing to develop patient education programs for illnesses that require behavioral and self-management, such as diabetes (Jiang et al., 2019). Studies show that self-efficacy-focused programs have been considered effective in the patients. Therefore, it is worth noting that the self-efficacy theory is reliable and valid for application in research and practice that involves cognitive behavior.


As seen in the critique above, the self-efficacy theory is valid and reliable for application in research and practice. The use of external and internal evaluation of the theory has depicted its accuracy and originality. The theory’s constructs have influenced the understanding of human behavior in different experiences.

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Dammann, O., Friederichs, K. M., Lebedinski, S., & Liesenfeld, K. M. (2021). The essence of authenticity. Frontiers in Psychology, 4021. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.629654

Jiang, X., Wang, J., Lu, Y., Jiang, H., & Li, M. (2019). Self-efficacy-focused education in persons with diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychology Research And Behavior Management12, 67. https://doi.org/10.2147%2FPRBM.S192571

Klassen, R. M., & Klassen, J. R. (2018). Self-efficacy beliefs of medical students: a critical review. Perspectives On Medical Education7(2), 76-82. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40037-018-0411-3

Lopez-Garrido, G. (2020). Self-efficacy Theory. Simply Psychology. Accessed 6th June 2022 from https://www.simplypsychology.org/self-efficacy.html

Vitolla, F., Raimo, N., & Rubino, M. (2019). Appreciations, criticisms, determinants, and effects of integrated reporting: A systematic literature review. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management26(2), 518-528. https://doi.org/10.1002/csr.1734

Example 2

Self-efficacy theory explains that the strength and level of self-efficacy are altered by psychological procedures. Self-efficacy, in its explanation, refers to the capacity and belief to show behaviors that lead to attainments through specific performances. It is a matter of believing in oneself using parts of self like abilities, attitude, and cognitive skills. Self-efficacy theory acknowledges the different forms of human abilities and how their beliefs, thoughts, and emotions impact their behavior (Ebrahimi Belil et al., 2018).

People have a great influence on how they feel, do, and think, which is a key role as the theory emphasizes. Notably, the theory’s initial development undertook psychological procedures to determine the expectations of self-efficacy in a person and the ultimate leaf to behavior change. Moreover, self-efficacy has various expectations, from the person\’s ability to execute many tasks. The beliefs lead to developing critical human competence. Being competent depends highly on one\’s feelings, actions, thoughts, and source of motivation. The efficacy is thus a predictor of certain or continued behavior in contentious times.

Response to Example 2

The theory of self-efficacy postulates that an individual’s self-efficacy can be developed. Self-efficacy means the confidence a person has in their belief that they can achieve, thus influencing their performance (Marsh et al., 2019). Self-efficacy is developed through personal success, observation, comparison of performance when given similar tasks, encouragement of others, and emotional states that enhance accomplishments. Self-efficacy determines how a person handles difficult tasks, how they persevere, and whether they will achieve the desired outcomes.

The theory emphasizes that psychological processes determine an individual’s level of self-efficacy. The way individuals process information determines how they judge their capabilities (Laurencelle and Scanlan, 2018). Self-efficacy is altered by the perception of an individual’s responses to a certain situation. However, an individual’s belief in the implications of certain psychological responses alters self-efficacy. For instance, fear before entering an interview may lead to a person believing that they cannot make it, thus decreasing self-efficacy. Another person may interpret it as a challenge to face the panel and believe they can make it, increasing self-efficacy.

Self-efficacy not only determines behavior and human competence but also influences an individual’s quality of life. According to Banik et al. (2018), self-efficacy form modifiable personal characteristics that determine how they respond to illness management, rehabilitation participation, and health outcomes related to the quality of life. Liu et al. (2018) also argue that self-efficacy contributes to the quality of life through the emotions a person has when faced with a difficult situation. Improved self-efficacy can help curb negative emotions by minimizing anxiety and depression, thus improving the quality of life, especially for patients.   Therefore, high self-efficacy levels could contribute to a good quality of life and vice versa.      


Banik, A., Schwarzer, R., Knoll, N., Czekierda, K., & Luszczynska, A. (2018). Self-efficacy and quality of life among people with cardiovascular diseases: A meta-analysis. Rehabilitation Psychology, 63(2), 295–312. https://doi.org/10.1037/rep0000199

Laurencelle, F., & Scanlan, J. (2018). Graduate students’ experiences: Developing self-efficacy. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship15(1). https://doi.org/10.1515/ijnes-2017-0041

Liu, N., Liu, S., Yu, N., Peng, Y., Wen, Y., Tang, J., & Kong, L. (2018). Correlations among psychological resilience, self-efficacy, and negative emotion in acute myocardial infarction patients after percutaneous coronary intervention. Frontiers in Psychiatry9, 1. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00001

Marsh, H. W., Pekrun, R., Parker, P. D., Murayama, K., Guo, J., Dicke, T., & Arens, A. K. (2019). The murky distinction between self-concept and self-efficacy: Beware of lurking jingle-jangle fallacies. Journal of Educational Psychology111(2), 331. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/edu0000281

Example 3

The idea of one\’s own capacity for self-sufficiency may be traced back to the Social Learning Theory, which places a strong focus on the theories of learning through observing of others. According to Bandura\’s definition, Self-efficacy may be described as the conviction in one\’s ability to shape and carry out the procedures of action necessary to generate specific accomplishments (Eller et al., 2018).

To put it another way, self-efficacy may be defined as an individual\’s perception of the degree to which they influence their capacity to carry out desired behaviors and achieve desired outcomes (Eller et al., 2018). A person\’s unique belief system is what makes up their self-efficacy and determines how well they can carry out a strategy when faced with new challenges.

Also, self-efficacy may be defined as an individual\’s confidence in their capacity to achieve their goals in a given circumstance. Although Bandura is credited with popularizing the term \”self-efficacy,\” psychologists have long been researching the topic from a range of viewpoints.