Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Testing counselor trainees' self-efficacy for identifying behavioral indicators of the working alliance in family therapy: Can self-efficacy be induced through feedback?
by Spears, William H., Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2014, 215; 3629610
Abstract (Summary)

The present study investigated the influence of self-efficacy (SE) on performance in a counseling-related task. Specifically, four experimental self-efficacy (SE) groups were compared in their performance using the SOFTA-o (Friedlander, Escudero, & Heatherington, 2006) to identify clients' alliance-related behaviors in a videotaped vignette of a simulated family therapy session. Following a baseline trial with a similar vignette (Trial 1), 112 counselor trainees were randomly assigned to receive no feedback (Control) or bogus comparison feedback indicating that their Trial 1 performance was superior (High SE), similar (Mildly Negative/average SE), or poor (Low SE) relative to peers. Correspondingly, the experiment tested three competing hypotheses about whether high, average, or low levels of self-efficacy differentially affected participants' task performance in Trial 2.

The first hypothesis, based on Bandura's (1986, 1997) social cognitive theory, which suggests that self-efficacy expectations facilitate performance, predicted that participants in the High SE condition would out-perform participants in the other conditions in Trial 2. Conversely, based on Vancouver et al.'s (2001, 2002) studies of self-efficacy and perceptual control theory (Powers, 1973), the second hypothesis predicted that participants in the Low SE condition would out-perform the others in Trial 2. The third hypothesis, based on Stone's (1994) results and a slight modification to perceptual control theory, predicted that participants in the Mildly Negative SE condition would out-perform the others in Trial 2.

None of the three competing hypotheses was supported, in that the induction of differing self-efficacy expectations on participants' subsequent task performance was negligible. On the other hand, the bogus comparison feedback influenced participants' self-reported self-efficacy expectations for their performance in Trial 2 in the expected direction, and participants' baseline performance (Trial 1) was predictive of their subsequent performance (Trial 2).

The findings are consistent with prior studies (Heggestad & Kanfer, 2005; Jome et al., 2012; Richard et al., 2006; Sitzmann & Yeo, 2013), which suggest that self-efficacy may not be a powerful determinant of performance. Furthermore, the results suggest the importance of exploring tasks that are relevant for participants under conditions that may moderate the relationship between SE and performance.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Friedlander, Myrna L.
Commitee: Jome, LaRae M., Sheu, Hung-Bin
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Counseling Psychology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 75/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Counseling Psychology, Individual & family studies
Keywords: Counseling self-efficacy, Counselor performance, Performance, Self-efficacy, Therapeutic alliance, Working alliance
Publication Number: 3629610
ISBN: 978-1-321-06796-5
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