The role of self-efficacy in the treatment of substance use disorders

Addict Behav. 2011 Dec;36(12):1120-6. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2011.07.032. Epub 2011 Jul 29.


Self-efficacy is the belief that one has the ability to implement the behaviors needed to produce a desired effect. There has been growing interest in the role of self-efficacy as a predictor and/or mediator of treatment outcome in a number of domains. The present paper reviews the recent literature on self-efficacy in the substance abuse field. In numerous studies of substance abuse treatment, self-efficacy has emerged as an important predictor of outcome, or as a mediator of treatment effects. Despite these repeated positive findings, the self-efficacy concept has had little impact on the design of treatments. Since the concept was first introduced, there have been numerous suggestions regarding the means by which self-efficacy may be enhanced in clinical settings, but very little by way of empirical tests of those suggestions. This review concludes with a number of recommendations for further research to improve understanding of this potentially valuable concept and its interactions with other variables, and to develop effective strategies for enhancing self-efficacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Behavior, Addictive / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Research
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome