This post continues on the theme of self-efficacy, our beliefs about our capability to perform specific tasks or actions, which can be influenced directly and also has an important impact on our psychological wellbeing.
As noted in earlier posts, much research has been conducted on the 4 major psychological processes through which self-efficacy affects human functioning and hence can be increased. Last week I started on the first two:
1. Cognitive Processes: The importance of intentional behaviour, forethought and valued goals.
2. Motivational Processes: The importance of self-motivation, expectations of performance and the likely outcomes, all which impact goalsetting and corresponding planning of activities.
Today I will continue on the third one:
3. Affective processes: This is about one’s beliefs in own coping capabilities which affect the amount stress and depression experienced in threatening or difficult situations as well as the level of motivation. The belief in self-efficacy with regard to exercise control over stressful situations plays a central role in anxiety arousal. People who believe they can exercise control over threats will less likely create disturbing thought patterns.
Individuals who believe they cannot manage threats experience high anxiety arousal and focus on their coping deficiencies. They have a tendency to watch for danger and magnify the severity of possible threats as well as worry about things that rarely happen but which nevertheless impair their level of functioning. Perceived coping self-efficacy regulates avoidance behavior as well as anxiety arousal. The stronger the sense of self-efficacy the bolder people are in taking on taxing and threatening activities.
Since the connection between affective processes and self-efficacy is central for psychological wellbeing, this will also be the topic of the next post.
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