Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Self-Efficacy as Predictor of Motivational Goals in University Students

Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Self-Efficacy as Predictor of Motivational Goals in University Students

Article excerpt

Self-efficacy is an important factor in the accomplishment of goals because people with confidence in their capabilities are likely to approach difficult tasks as challenges and are motivated to master them rather than avoid them. The present study has investigated the potential role of self-efficacy in various approaches towards goal attainment. Self-efficacy refers to belief in oneself and one's personal skills; a person who perceives herself/himself in a positive way will be more motivated than a person who anticipates herself/himself as a failure (Was, 2006). Austin and Vancouver (1996) proposed that self-efficacy plays a very important role in the goal choice and task preference. When a person has confidence in his skills, with no self-doubt, he will possess a sense of being and be sufficiently prepared for a challenge. Thus, he becomes more motivated towards achievement. Self-efficacy levels can enhance or obstruct motivation. People with high self-efficacy choose to perform more challenging tasks; they set higher goals for themselves and stick to them. Actions are reshaped in thoughts, and people anticipate either optimistic or pessimistic scenarios in line with their level of self-efficacy (Kumar & Lai, 2006).

Goals are defined as the end towards which one's effort is directed (Was, 2006). Goals serve as a course to the destination. When a person wants to do anything, he or she sets some behavioural intentions for the success. These intentions are referred to goals. Goal-oriented theorists define achievement goals as concrete cognitive representations that focus on a particular type of performance and these behavioural intentions are very much affected by the level of self-efficacy, which is belief in one's own self (Elliot &Church, 2003). Goal theory researchers generally agree that mastery goals are more productive than performance goals and approach goals are more productive than avoidance goals (Grant & Dweck, 2003). Liu and Schallert (2006) proposed that according to goal theory, goal orientation is very much related to individual's beliefs and expectations about their capabilities to perform successfully i.e., individual's selfefficacy. Mohsenpour, Hejazi and Kiamanesh (2004) stated that levels of self-efficacy play a very important role in predicting the motivational goals. They found that students who adopted mastery goal orientation and used learning strategies such as organizing, planning, and monitoring in performing difficult tasks, were those who had a higher self-efficacy and showed more persistence in performing their difficult tasks. On the contrary, students who were low on selfefficacy were more likely to demonstrate avoidant behaviour toward performing difficult tasks. Research findings further revealed that students who adopted avoidance approach goals orientation showed less persistence in performing difficult tasks. In another study, Pajares and Graham ( 1999) found that performance goals and mastery goals were associated positively with self-efficacy but performance-avoidance goals were associated negatively with self-efficacy. Explaining the relationship between self-efficacy and goals, Elliot and Church (1997) concluded that mastery goals facilitated intrinsic motivation, performanceapproach goals enhanced graded performance, and performance avoidance goals proved conflicting to both intrinsic motivation and graded performance. In lieu with the aforementioned literature, the present study hypothesized that self-efficacy would positively predict performance approach goals and mastery goals whereas it would not predict performance avoidance goals.

Pertinent literature also highlights significant gender differences in self-efficacy. Various researchers have reported higher levels of selfefficacy in men than women (Matsui ,1994; Lent, Lopez, & Bieschke, 1991; Elliot &Church, 2003).These gender differences in self-efficacy are attributable to different environmental, sociocultural, and inherited factors. …

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