Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Measuring Social Self-Efficacy in a Culturally Diverse Student Population

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Measuring Social Self-Efficacy in a Culturally Diverse Student Population

Article excerpt

This paper reports the construction and validation of a measure of social self-efficacy in a range of social interaction situations commonly experienced by tertiary students, including situations posing special concern to recent arrivals to the Australian educational setting. Participants in the first study were 228 undergraduate students. Among these, 91 were Australia-born with Englishspeaking-background parents (Anglo-Australians), 90 were also Australia-born but had parents from a non-English-speaking-background (NESB Australia-born), and 47 were overseas-born with NESB parents (NESB immigrants). Item and factor analyses yielded a 20-item, 4-factors Social Self-Efficacy Scale for Students (SSESS). The four factors were Absence of Social Difficulties, Social Confidence, Sharing Interests, and Friendship Initiatives. Evidence of the scale's satisfactory internal consistency reliability, and its concurrent and construct validity is presented. Indication of satisfactory test-retest reliability was obtained from a second sample of 16 university students. Applications and directions for further research are discussed.

Recent Australian research (e.g., Barker, Child, Gallois, Jones, & Callan, 1991; Edmond, 1996; Pe-Pua, 1994) has shown that immigrant students from minority cultural groups and international students are more likely to report difficulties in social situations both within academic contexts and in everyday encounters. This is a cause for concern, as Bandura, Barbaranelli, Caprara and Pastorelli (1996) point out that being accepted socially is one of the important determinants of adjustment in an educational setting. Successful interactions with peers, academic faculty members, and general staff members are also thought to be related to mastery of academic work (Bandura et al., 1996).

In the case of recent immigrant students and international students, being socially confident and competent is also vital for meeting the human needs for belonging, love, and esteem as they seek acceptance in a culturally different educational and social environment (Mak, Westwood, Ishiyama, & Barker, in press). Newcomers who are unfamiliar with the host cultural code may experience interpersonal anxiety (Gudykunst & Hammer, 1988) and self-reports of social anxiety have been found to increase in novel and unstructured situations and in encounters with people about whom the individual knows relatively little (Schlenker & Leary, 1982). Some of these newcomer students may attempt to cope with their anxiety by opting for minimizing contact with hosts, and this may lead to social avoidance. Innes and Thomas (1989) found that the tendency towards social avoidance or inhibition was related to lower degrees of self-efficacy for social interactions.

Self-efficacy can be defined as the belief that one can successfully carry out the behavior required to produce a particular outcome (Bandura, 1977). According to Bandura (1977, 1996 et al.), self-efficacy expectancy, the expectancy that one can produce the desired outcome through one's own actions, is a powerful determinant of behavioral change because this expectancy determines the initial decision to perform a behavior, the effort spent, and persistence in the face of difficulties. Extending this definition of self-efficacy to students' self-appraisals in social interactions, social self-efficacy can be regarded as the student's expectancy that they can successfully perform or complete a target behavior in an academic or everyday situation involving social interaction.

Self-efficacy, including social self-efficacy, has been found to be related to adjustment among college students (Solberg, O'Brien, Villareal, Kennel, & Davis, 1993; Ward & Kennedy, 1994), high school students (Bandura et al., 1996) and adult immigrants (Schwarzer, Hahh & Schroder, 1994). In a meta-analysis of the self-efficacy research, Multon, Brown, and Lent, (1991) found a moderate relationship between college performance and self-efficacy, and between self-efficacy and persistence on a given task. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.