Critique the theory of Self-Efficacy using internal and external criticism evaluation process. I have added the topic of the class, the weekly objectives and the student learning outcomes, please choose 1 outcome and develop the question. The discussion must address the topic, at least 400 words in your initial post. Minimum 2 scholarly references in APA format within the last 5 years published. No plagiarism please. Weekly learning objectives By the end of this lesson, the learner will:

Objective 1: Critically evaluate psychological theories through the use of internal and external criticism evaluation processes.

Self-efficacy is a psychological theory proposed by Albert Bandura that refers to an individual’s belief in their ability to successfully perform a specific behavior or achieve a particular outcome (Bandura, 1977). The theory suggests that self-efficacy influences an individual’s motivation, effort, resilience, and perseverance in pursuing their goals. While self-efficacy has been widely studied and applied in various areas, including education, sports, and mental health, it is crucial to critically evaluate this theory using both internal and external criticism evaluation processes to understand its limitations and contributions.

Internal criticism involves examining the internal consistency, explanatory power, and logical coherence of a theory. One internal criticism of the theory of self-efficacy is the potential for circular reasoning. Bandura proposed that self-efficacy beliefs influence an individual’s behavior, but it could also be argued that one’s behavior might influence their self-efficacy beliefs. For instance, if a student performs poorly on a test, their belief in their ability to succeed in future tests may decrease. This bidirectional relationship between behavior and self-efficacy beliefs challenges the assumption that self-efficacy is a predictor of behavior rather than being influenced by behavior itself.

Furthermore, another internal criticism of the theory of self-efficacy is the lack of attention given to individual differences. Bandura emphasized the importance of situational factors in shaping self-efficacy beliefs, but there may be inherent personality traits or biological factors that influence an individual’s self-efficacy independently of external factors. For example, introverted individuals may inherently have lower self-efficacy in social situations, regardless of the specific situation or environmental factors. Therefore, the theory of self-efficacy should consider the influence of individual differences in self-efficacy beliefs, including personality traits and biological factors, to provide a more comprehensive understanding.

External criticism involves examining the empirical evidence supporting a theory. Several studies have provided support for the theory of self-efficacy across different domains. For example, research in the field of education has consistently demonstrated that students with higher levels of self-efficacy tend to achieve better academic performance, exhibit greater motivation, and have higher levels of resilience (Multon, Brown, & Lent, 1991). Similarly, studies in sports psychology have shown that athletes with higher self-efficacy beliefs are more likely to set challenging goals, put in more effort, and persist in the face of setbacks (Feltz, Short, & Sullivan, 2008).

However, it is essential to acknowledge the limitations of the empirical evidence supporting the theory of self-efficacy. One external criticism is the reliance on self-report measures to assess self-efficacy beliefs. Self-report measures are susceptible to social desirability bias and may not always accurately reflect an individual’s true beliefs and capabilities. Additionally, there may be other variables at play that confound the relationship between self-efficacy and behavior. For instance, the role of social support, cultural factors, and environmental constraints on self-efficacy may not be adequately captured in current research. Therefore, future studies should aim to employ more objective measures and consider other relevant variables to increase the validity and generalizability of findings.

In conclusion, the theory of self-efficacy proposed by Bandura has contributed significantly to our understanding of human behavior and motivation. However, it is crucial to critically evaluate this theory using both internal and external criticism approaches. Internal criticism highlights the potential for circular reasoning and the need to consider individual differences, while external criticism emphasizes the reliance on self-report measures and the need to address confounding variables. By critically evaluating the theory of self-efficacy, we can gain a more nuanced understanding of its limitations and contributions, ultimately enhancing its application in various domains.


Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84(2), 191-215.

Feltz, D. L., Short, S. E., & Sullivan, P. J. (2008). Self-efficacy in sport: Research and strategies for working with athletes, teams, and coaches. Human Kinetics.

Multon, K. D., Brown, S. D., & Lent, R. W. (1991). Relation of self-efficacy beliefs to academic outcomes: a meta-analytic investigation. Journal of Counseling psychology, 38(1), 30.