Self-Efficacy as a Foundational Concept for Positive Psychology

Abstract: People tend to engage in behaviors that will get them what they want and that they believe they can do. Self-efficacy theory (Bandura, 1977, 1982, 1986a) states that initiation and persistence of behaviors and courses of action are primarily determined by beliefs in one’s ability to execute the behaviors and courses of action that move one toward desired goals. Self-efficacy theory also maintains that these same factors play an important role in psychological adjustment and dysfunction and in effective therapeutic interventions for behavioral and emotional problems. This presentation will evaluate self-efficacy theory and the research relevant to the intersection of clinical and social psychology.

Bio: James E. Maddux, Ph.D., is University Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology and Senior Scholar at the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University (Fairfax, VA). He is the former Editor of the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology and former director of the clinical psychology doctoral program at George Mason University. He is the co-editor (with Barbara Winstead) of Psychopathology: Foundations for a Contemporary Understanding (now in its 4th edition) and editor of the forthcoming Social Psychological Foundations of Well-being and Life Satisfaction. Maddux is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association’s Divisions of General, Clinical, and Health Psychology and a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.  For the past several years his professional activities have included giving lectures, teaching graduate students, and organizing workshops on evidence-based clinical interventions in Europe and South America. He is also a Visiting Professor at Klaipeda University in Lithuania.