to change health-related behaviors. A fourth, related, characteristic contributing to the importance of self-efficacy is its specificity. As the vignette at the opening of this chapter illustrated, the specificity of self-efficacy perceptions enables manageable intermediate goals to be established, further enhancing its utility to interveners. Finally, although its specificity mitigates against a single, universally accepted measure of self-efficacy, researchers and practitioners have found it relatively easy to devise methods of assessing the construct in ways that appear satisfactory.
Despite its clear utility, self-efficacy should not be expected to do everything. The proportion of variance in health behavior not explained by self-efficacy will often be considerable. Although the effects of some other constructs in health psychology on health behavior will be mediated by self- efficacy, others will not. Suggestions that self-efficacy fully captures the effects of outcome expectations, for example, seem forced. Broadening the definition of self-efficacy to subsume other constructs seems to contradict its inherent specificity, one of its most attractive features. These issues notwithstanding, self-efficacy remains a concept that will continue to find widespread utility in health psychology.
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