Self Efficacy Theory (SET)

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Self Efficacy Theory (SET)


  • Self-efficacy theory was originated from Social Cognitive theory by Alberta Bendura.
  • Self-efficacy is the belief that one has the power to produce that effect by completing a given task or activity related to that competency.
  • Self-efficacy relates to a person’s perception of their ability to reach a goal. 
  • It is the belief that one is capable of performing in a certain manner to attain certain goals.
  • It is the expectation that one can master a situation, and produce a positive outcome.
  • Self-efficacy is an important concept in positive psychology.

Major Concepts

  • Bandura’s Social Cognitive Model says that there are 3 factors that influence self-efficacy:
    • Behaviors
    • Environment, and
    • personal/cognitive factors.
  • They all effect each other, but the cognitive factors are important.
  • Self-efficacy developing from mastery experiences in which goals are achieved through perseverance and overcoming obstacles and from observing others succeed through sustained effort.
  • Self-efficacy and self-esteem are different concepts, but related.
  • Self-efficacy relates to a person’s perception of their ability to reach a goal, whereas self-esteem relates to a person’s sense of self-worth.

Application of the Theory

  • "Motivation, performance, and feelings of frustration associated with repeated failures determine affect and behaviour relations" - Bandura, 1986)
  • SET is widely applied in health behaviour change.
  • Cognitive and behavioural psychotherapy for depression are based on theoretical concepts of self-efficacy.


  • Self-efficacy is the most important precondition for behaviour change.


  1. Bandura, A. Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavior change. Psychological Review, 1977, 84, 191-215.
  2. Bandura, A. Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency. American Psychologist, 1982, 37, 122-147.
This page was last updated on: 05/12/2020