Unique Effects and Moderators of Effects of Sources on Self-Efficacy: A Model-Based Meta-Analysis

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Abstract

Self-efficacy beliefs are strong predictors of academic pursuits, performance, and persistence, and in theory are developed and maintained by 4 classes of experiences Bandura (1986) referred to as sources: performance accomplishments (PA), vicarious learning (VL), social persuasion (SP), and affective arousal (AA). The effects of sources on self-efficacy vary by performance domain and individual difference factors. In this meta-analysis (k = 61 studies of academic self-efficacy; N = 8,965), we employed B. J. Becker’s (2009)model-based approach to examine cumulative effects of the sources as a set and unique effects of each source, controlling for the others. Following Becker’s recommendations, we used available data to create a correlation matrix for the 4 sources and self-efficacy, then used these meta-analytically derived correlations to test our path model. We further examined moderation of these associations by subject area (STEM vs. non-STEM), grade, sex, and ethnicity. PA showed by far the strongest unique association with self-efficacy beliefs. Subject area was a significant moderator, with sources collectively predicting self-efficacy more strongly in non-STEM (k = 14) compared with STEM (k = 47) subjects (R2 = .37 and .22, respectively). Within studies of STEM subjects, grade level was a significant moderator of the coefficients in our path model, as were 2 continuous study characteristics (percent non-White and percent female). Practical implications of the findings and future research directions are discussed.

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