Negative self-efficacy and goal effects revisited

J Appl Psychol. 2003 Feb;88(1):87-99. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.88.1.87.


The authors address the verification of the functional properties of self-efficacy beliefs and document how self-efficacy beliefs operate in concert with goal systems within a sociocognitive theory of self-regulation in contrast to the focus of control theory on discrepancy reduction. Social cognitive theory posits proactive discrepancy production by adoption of goal challenges working in concert with reactive discrepancy reduction in realizing them. Converging evidence from diverse methodological and analytic strategies verifies that perceived self-efficacy and personal goals enhance motivation and performance attainments. The large body of evidence, as evaluated by 9 meta-analyses for the effect sizes of self-efficacy beliefs and by the vast body of research on goal setting, contradicts findings (J. B. Vancouver, C. M. Thompson, & A. A. Williams, 2001; J. B. Vancouver, C. M. Thompson, E. C. Tischner, & D. J. Putka 2002) that belief in one's capabilities and personal goals is self-debilitating.

Publication types

  • Comment
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Cognition*
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motivation
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Stress, Psychological