Positive Youth Development in the United States: Research Findings on Evaluations of Positive Youth Development Programs. Fosters Self Efficacy


Self-efficacy is the perception that one can achieve desired goals through one's own action. Bandura (e.g. 1989:1175) stated that "Self-efficacy beliefs function as an important set of proximal determinants of human motivation, affect, and action. They operate on action through motivational, cognitive, and affective intervening processes." Strategies associated with self-efficacy beliefs include personal goal setting, which is influenced by self-appraisal of one's capabilities (Bandura, 1993, 1986). Others have documented that the stronger the perceived self-efficacy, the higher the goals people set for themselves and the firmer their commitment to them (Locke, Frederick, Lee & Bobco, 1984). Prevention science studies showed that problem behaviors are mediated by cognitive, emotional, attitudinal, personality, and social factors including poor coping skills, anxiety, need for social approval, favorable attitudes toward use and a lack of self-efficacy (Hawkins, Lishner, Catalano & Howard, 1986; Holden, Moncher, Schinke & Barker, 1990).

Operational Definition.  Programs were classified as fostering self-efficacy if their strategies included personal goal-setting, coping and mastery skills, or techniques to change negative self-efficacy expectancies or self-defeating cognitions.