Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Social Self-Efficacy and Interpersonal Stress in Adolescence

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Social Self-Efficacy and Interpersonal Stress in Adolescence

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between social self-efficacy and interpersonal stress in adolescence. Three scales, measuring social self-efficacy, interpersonal stress and interpersonal stress coping were administered to 180 high school students. Scores on social self-efficacy were negatively correlated with those on interpersonal stress and interpersonal stress coping. Furthermore, interpersonal stress scores correlated positively with interpersonal stress coping. A two-factor analysis on the mean scores for factors of interpersonal stress was conducted to examine social self-efficacy and interpersonal stress coping differences, and the effect of social self-efficacy on the reducing of interpersonal stress.

Self-efficacy is the sense of belief that one's actions have an effect on the environment (Steinberg, 1998) and the study of this concept has been developing since the early work of Bandura (1977). Perceived self-efficacy concerns people's belief in their capabilities to perform in ways that give them control over important events in their lives, and beliefs about efficacy form the foundation of human agency. Unless people believe that they can produce results by their actions, they have little incentive to act (Bandura, 2000). Bandura found that people with high self-efficacy tend to have greater cognitive resourcefulness, strategic flexibility, and effectiveness in managing their environment, and set motivating goals for themselves. They expect their efforts to produce favorable results, view obstacles as surmountable, and actively figure out ways to overcome problems. People with a low sense of self-efficacy avoid difficult tasks that they view as threats. They have low aspirations and weak commitment to their goals. Bandura (1977) suggested that the sense of self-efficacy that accompanies high self-esteem enhances people's willingness to strive toward desired goals as well as to persist in difficult tasks.

These days, the stress of children or adolescents is an important issue in the field of Japanese education. The problems of bullying among students, school maladjustment and school refusal have been increasing. Berndt and Perry (1990) showed that the importance of intimacy as a defining feature of friendship continues to increase throughout early and middle adolescence. Especially in adolescence, an interpersonal relationship in the individual's school life is supposed to be a big Stressor.

Lazarus and Folkman (1984) showed a transactional model of stress and coping. Within Lazarus and Folkman's framework, two processes are critical mediators of stressful person-environment relations and their immediate and long-range outcomes: cognitive appraisals and coping. There are two aspects to cognitive appraisals, primary appraisal and secondary appraisal. In primary appraisal, an individual evaluates whether he or she has anything at stake in an encounter. In secondary appraisal, an individual evaluates existing coping resources and options and assesses the possibilities for control in a situation to determine what, if anything, can be done to overcome or prevent harm, or improve the prospects for benefit. Bandura's theory of self-efficacy (1977) also argues that cognitive appraisals are important mediators of affect, thought, and action. Self-efficacy can be defined as an appraisal of how well one can execute the course of action required to deal with a specific prospective situation and how well one can cope with the situation. A large amount of research has demonstrated quite convincingly that feeling self-efficacious is related to successful adjustment to a host of negative life events. Bandura and his colleagues have suggested that self-efficacy may operate as a cognitive mechanism through which the individual reacts to stress with feelings of controllability (Bandura et al., 1988).

In this study, we examined the effect of social self-efficacy and interpersonal stress coping on interpersonal stress in adolescence. …

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