Analysis of Self-Efficacy Theory of Behavioral Change'

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Cognitive Therapy and Research, VoL 1, No. 4, 1977, pp. 287-310 Analysis of Self-Efficacy Theory of Behavioral Change' Albert Bandura2 and Nancy E. Adams Stanford University This article reports the findings o f two experimental tests o f self-efficacy theory o f behavioral change. The first study investigated the hypothesis that systematic desensitization effects changes in avoidance behavior by creating and strengthening expectations o f personal efficacy. Thorough extinction of anxiety arousal to visualized threats by desensitization treatment produced differential increases in self-efficacy. In accord with prediction, microanalysis o f congruence between self-efficacy and performance showed self-efficacy to be a highly accurate predictor o f degree o f behavioral change following complete desensitization. The findings also lend support to the view that pereeived self-efficacy mediates anxiety arousal. The second experiment investigated the process o f efficacy and behavioral change during the course o f treatment by participant modeling. Self-efficacy proved to be a superior predictor o f amount o f behavioral improvement phobics gained from partial mastery o f threats at different phases o f treatment. According to social learning theory (Bandura, 1977a), changes in defensive behavior produced by different methods of treatment derive from a common cognitive mechanism. It is postulated that psychological procedures, whatever their format, serve as ways of creating and strengthening expectations of personal effectiveness. Perceived self-efficacy affects people's 'This research was supported by Public Health Research Grant M-5162 from the National Institute of Mental Health. The authors are indebted to Laura Macht for her able assistance in administering the assessment procedures, and to Earl Neilson for his contributions to the preliminary work in this
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