Self-efficacy (Bandura, 1977) conceptualizes a person’s perceived ability to perform on a task as a mediator of performance on future tasks. A change in the level of self-efficacy can predict a lasting change in behavior if there are adequate incentives and skills. The Abstinence Self-efficacy scale is a 20-item self-report measure (some 9 or 12 item measures available) that assesses an individual’s confidence to abstain from substance use or health behaviors in a variety of different situations. The 20-item version is the most commonly utilized version but the shorter versions were created to meet the needs of specific research studies. It is possible to obtain both an overall measure as well as situational self-efficacy based on subscale scores.
The Self-efficacy scale and the Situational Temptation Scale items are the same, which sometimes causes confusion for respondants as they think they are filling out the same questionnaire twice. However, it is important to know that they are two different scales tapping into two different concepts: Confidence (the Self-Efficacy Scale) and Temptation (the Situational Temptation Scale). The two scales are correlated (as high as 0.60) and can “knock each other out” if put in the same analysis, but they can be used seperately.
The wording of Self-Efficacy Scale can be difficult for some populations. If you are working with populations that have impaired cognitive abilities, psychological symptoms that may interfere with understanding the scale, etc, the scale may need to be adapted and the wording altered. It may also be necessary to give assistance to respondents when the questionnaire is filled out.
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