Self-Efficacy and Self-Esteem
The Pillars of the Self-Concept: Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy
We all have a sense of self. Whether that sense of self is positive or negative is based upon our experiences in life and our perceptions and assessment of ourself. If our self assessment was always accurate, I would have no need to write this article. However, the problem is that our perception of ourself is often distorted.
Previous experiences can distort this perception. For instance, a person growing up in a perfectionistic family may view herself as always falling short of the expectations of the family. As a result, no matter how successful she might be, she thinks of herself as a failure.
Or a boy who is constantly picked on by his older brothers: "How stupid!" or "What a dork!" He may come to believe these labels about himself. Unfortunately, people who believe certain labels will often live up, or live down, to those labels. The labels can create a self-fulfilling prophecy of expectation. He expects himself to be stupid so he never tries to prove otherwise.
WHAT IS SELF-CONCEPT?
The self-concept is a factual description of how you perceive yourself. If your perception is distorted, this description may not be an accurate depiction of you, but it IS an accurate statement of what you believe about yourself.
The self-concept is derived from self-esteem and self-efficacy. If a person has low self-esteem, the self-concept may be skewed in the direction of a negative description. Some aspects of the self-concept may be purely statements of fact such as "I have a college education" or "I don't dance" without any evaluation of whether it is good or bad. Read more...
"...refers to situation-specific
self-confidence as “self-efficacy” which is the
strength of an individual’s belief that he or she
can successfully perform a given activity."
Without confidence in one’s ability, an individual cannot perform to his or her potential. It is
even possible that someone with lesser ability, but with confidence, can outperform this person because
belief in oneself can be a powerful influence. What is this sense of confidence? Albert Bandura refers
to situation-specific self-confidence as “self-efficacy” which is the strength of an individual’s belief
that he or she can successfully perform a given activity. The concept of self-efficacy has often been
used interchangeably with the concept of self-esteem which is the process of evaluating the self;
however, self-efficacy is more accurately described as a precursor to self-esteem and is mediated
by the individual’s self-attributions. Read more...
The vast majority of my clients with anxiety disorders are perfectionists. Additionally, perfectionism
is extremely pervasive in our culture generally. However, the typical response when I inquire about
perfectionism is, “Oh, no, I’m not a perfectionist. I’m far from perfect.” Such a response indicates
a lack of understanding regarding the concept of perfectionism.
Perfectionism is the belief that one must attain perfection or one is a failure. Perfectionism is
an extreme distortion of the concept “Do your best” when an individual believes that his or her
“best” means, “perfect.” The individual becomes fearful of making mistakes and may experience
stress, anxiety, and depression as a result. Read more...
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Articles about self-esteem and
Test: What Is Your Self-Concept?
Create positive self-talk on the the
Review the affirmations on your blackboard
Self-Esteem Assistance Audio to change
self-talk created by past experiences
Self-Esteem Blackboard Audio to help
visualize changing your self-talk
Although we may prefer to believe that learning a motor skill is purely learning a set of physical techniques,
we have to consider that most learning typically takes place in the context of an interpersonal relationship with
a teacher. The critical question is how does this interaction affect the development of motor skills. It appears
that the mediating factor between the presentation of the instructions by the teacher and the performance of the
skill by the student may be the cognitive process of self-efficacy (Escarti & Guzman, 1999). Some may argue that
the development of effective skills may lead to the increased self-efficacy demonstrated by students of high
ability. Although this process occurs, it is not sufficient for explaining the role of developing
self-efficacy and its impact on learning motor skills. To fully explain the role of self-efficacy, we must
evaluate the interpersonal context of how the teacher or coach provides feedback to the athlete, how that
feedback affects self-efficacy, and how self-efficacy enhances performance. Unfortunately, studies directly
examining this relationship are sparse, and therefore, the inferences need to be made based on research
examining the relation of the different components of the equation such as the feedback/self-efficacy
relationship and the self-efficacy/motor skills relationship. Read more...
A natural human tendency is to simplify explanations,
especially explanations regarding the behavior of other
people. Even science teaches the importance of being
parsimonious; in other words, don’t use a complex
explanation when a simple one will do. However, many
times we over-simplify the cause of behavior, both as
individuals and as a science.
In social psychology, a concept known as "the
fundamental attribution error" describes the tendency to
view too much of someone else’s behavior as related to
internal factors. For instance, if a person is fired
from a job, we may think, "That person is incompetent,"
even though we could as easily think, "That job was not
right for that person." We tend to believe that the
problems other people have are due to some internal
fault or flaw and we tend to over-estimate the degree of
the person's responsibility. Read more...
Low self-esteem has been implicated in most psychological dysfunction; however, low self-esteem is not
necessarily the root cause of this dysfunction. It is believed (Aro, 1994) that individuals with high
self-esteem who may be predisposed to psychological disorders are better equipped to cope with those
disorders, and thus, reduce the negative consequences that may result. Therefore, if self-esteem can
be enhanced, the psychological consequences of disorders can be reduced. This process can be
illustrated by describing a similar process that occurs with physical illness such as diabetes.
The individual may be genetically predisposed to developing the illness, but if they engage in the
proper healthy care-taking activities, they may prevent the development of the illness or, at least,
reduce its consequences (Amir et. al., 1990. The enhancement of self-esteem and self-efficacy can
be an important contributing factor to both the prevention of psychological and physical illness
and the maintenance of health. Read more...
The manner in which instructors provide feedback to athletes can have significant impact upon an
athlete's self-efficacy which in turn affects the ability to learn a skill and the overall
performance. Self-efficacy is the athlete's personal belief that he or she has the capability
to learn and perform a specific skill or activity. The results of an interesting study by
Amparo Escarti and Jose Guzman in 1999 indicated that performance feedback which focuses on
providing feedback regarding technique rather than evaluating outcome was related to increased
self-efficacy, a higher level of performance, and the tendency to choose more difficult tasks.
Other research has shown that a higher level of self-efficacy improves performance. Thus,
research shows us that how a coach provides feedback to athletes is critical in the development
of the athlete.
To make this issue all the more complicated, there is research evidence that women respond
differently than men to feedback from coaches. This is most likely a crucial point in the
martial arts today because the majority of instructors in the martial arts are men and there
are more and more women choosing to participate and compete in the martial arts. Therefore,
a martial arts instructor needs to be more attuned to the methods of providing feedback to
women in order to elicit their best performance as well as to keep them interested in
continuing their training. Read more...
Some people may be curious as to why this website is dedicated to the
"pursuit of excellence" when I am constantly warning about the dangers
of perfectionism. To address this question we must differentiate
between the pursuit of excellence and the need to be perfect. These
concepts are not only different but can be considered antagonistic to
one another. In fact these concepts are so opposed to one another that
excellence can best be attained by giving up the demands of perfection.
What is Perfectionism?
Perfectionism is the individual's belief that he or she must be perfect to be acceptable.
Perfectionism is black and white with no gray area. Anything other than perfect is failure.
Perfectionism is an attitude, not necessarily a behavior. In other words, two people can
engage in the same behavior such as trying to win an Olympic gold medal but one can be pursuing
excellence and the other is demanding perfection. The difference lies in the thought process
about the goal or behavior, not in the goal or behavior itself. Read more...