Self-Efficacy in Adolescents: A Helpful Guide

The mind of a teenager can be hard to understand. However, there is a lot parents can do to help their teens develop a better self-image and achieve their goals. In this article, we'll take a look at self-efficacy in adolescents.
Self-Efficacy in Adolescents: A Helpful Guide

Last update: 22 December, 2018

Adolescence is an extremely complex stage that varies from child to child. To deal with the different situations that can arise, it’s important to help encourage self-efficacy in adolescents.

The first person to coin this term was the psychologist Albert Bandura, who first presented his Social Learning Theory in 1928. Self-efficacy refers to young peoples’ feelings, beliefs, and perceptions regarding their ability to meet challenges. In other words, it’s a kind of self-confidence.

This feeling of self-efficacy in adolescents applies to almost every aspect of life. It has to do with recovering from pain, rejection and failure, and making the choices that will impact their future. It also deals with the commitment, effort and perseverance needed to achieve one’s goals.

In addition, self-efficacy is essential to handling stress, pressure, and feeling vulnerable. As you can see, it’s vitally important. Parents can start planting the right seeds in childhood.

Self-efficacy in adolescents and education

Like many aspects of adolescence, such as sports and social life, education is strongly influenced by self-efficacy. It plays a central role because it lies at the core of young people’s lives.

Various studies say that for teenagers to get good academic results, they need to believe in themselves. In other words, confidence in one’s abilities is key.

If they take a positive view of their abilities, young people show more enthusiasm and perseverance. This helps them achieve their goals.

Self-Efficacy in Adolescents: a Helpful Guide

When it comes to self-efficacy’s influence on academics and other areas of life, such as romantic relationships, there are various opinions. Some argue that it can have a universal effect, while others believe that it varies depending on each particular situation.

What role does family play?

The aforementioned study concludes that family interactions are fundamental to instilling self-efficacy in adolescents. For this reason, parents have a responsibility to help their children develop it from an early age.

How is this done? A first step is to accompany them in the learning process. This means helping them learn, motivating them to fulfill their responsibilities, and above all, not making them feel bad when something doesn’t go the way they want.

It’s important to adopt a receptive and understanding attitude regarding their concerns. It’s also vital to teach them how to identify and control their emotions.

Finally, it’s fundamental to let them make their own mistakes and decisions. These are two central elements of encouraging self-efficacy in adolescents.

“Self-efficacy refers to young peoples’ feelings, beliefs, and perceptions regarding their ability to meet challenges.”

Self-efficacy is essential to an individual’s health and emotional balance. It goes beyond raising “successful people.” In fact, some authors have confirmed that it relates directly to anxiety disorders during this critical phase of life.

Signs of a good sense of self-efficacy in adolescents

Adolescents with a good sense of self-efficacy demonstrate the following attitudes:

  • Seeing challenges as opportunities for improvement.
  • Refusing to become discouraged by defeat or failure.
  • Showing emotional stability with the ability to cope with frustration.
  • Displaying motivation and commitment when it comes to obligations.
Self-Efficacy in Adolescents: A Helpful Guide

Strategies for developing self-efficacy in adolescents

Finally, let’s take a look at some tips for encouraging this feeling in young people:

  1. Set an example. Show that you can achieve your goals through hard work.
  2. Convince them of their abilities through dialogue. Often, one’s own mind is the biggest limitation.
  3. Help your children to lead a happy life. Encourage moments of relaxation so that they have time to contemplate the challenges they face.
  4. Analyze poor results and learn from them.
  5. Set realistic short-term goals that create motivation and enthusiasm.

With these simple everyday techniques, you can help your children reach their potential. Remember: self-efficacy is an essential quality that will help them face challenges throughout their lives.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Flores, R., del Carmen, M., Oliva Delgado, A., & Parra Jiménez, Á. (2010). Percepciones de autoevaluación: Autoestima, autoeficacia y satisfacción vital en la adolescencia. Psychology, Society, & Education, 2 (1), 55-69.
  • Reigal-Garrido, R. E., Videra-García, A., & Gil, J. (2014). Práctica física, autoeficacia general y satisfacción vital en la adolescencia.
  • Asturizaga, G. A., & Arenas, X. P. (2007). Programa de autoeficacia en habilidades sociales para adolescentes. Ajayu. Órgano de Difusión Científica del Departamento de Psicología de la Universidad Católica Boliviana” San Pablo”, 5(2), 133-155.
  • Ortiz, M. Á. C., & del Barrio Gandara, M. V. (2002). Evaluación de la autoeficacia en niños y adolescentes. Psicothema, 14(2), 323-332.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.