Sources of Self-Efficacy in school: Critical review of the literature and future directions

Ellen L. Usher, Frank Pajares

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

772 Scopus citations


The purpose of this review was threefold. First, the theorized sources of self-efficacy beliefs proposed by A. Bandura (1986) are described and explained, including how they are typically assessed and analyzed. Second, findings from investigations of these sources in academic contexts are reviewed and critiqued, and problems and oversights in current research and in conceptualizations of the sources are identified. Although mastery experience is typically the most influential source of self-efficacy, the strength and influence of the sources differ as a function of contextual factors such as gender, ethnicity, academic ability, and academic domain. Finally, suggestions are offered to help guide researchers investigating the psychological mechanisms at work in the formation of self-efficacy beliefs in academic contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-796
Number of pages46
JournalReview of Educational Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • Motivation
  • Self-concept
  • Self-efficacy
  • Sources of self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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