Confidence has been identified at the anecdotal and empirical level as an important construct in motivation. There is an assumption that behavioural outcomes influence self-efficacy and onwards to self-esteem. This reflects a ‘psychological consequences’ approach to self-efficacy. However, self-efficacy theory also supports the reciprocal nature of the relationship between efficacy perceptions and behaviour by stating that the behaviour will not be indulged in unless efficacy perceptions are sufficient. This is dealing with the motivational role of self-efficacy and will be the approach adopted here.
Bandura (1986) defines self-efficacy as:
“People’s judgement of their capabilities to organise and execute courses of action required to attain designated types of performances. It is concerned not with the skills one has but with judgements of what one can do with whatever skills one possesses.”
He differentiates between the beliefs related to the ability to carry out a particular behaviour (efficacy expectations) and beliefs as to whether the behaviour will produce a particular result (outcome expectations). For example, efficacy expectations may be the belief that one can successfully adhere to a programme of brisk walking five times a week for thirty minutes each. However, outcome expectations may refer to whether one believes that such activity will produce the weight loss that was desired when planning the activity.