The present investigation was designed to replicate and extend the Feltz (1982) study of the causal elements in Bandura's (1977) theory of self-efficacy. Path analysis techniques were employed to investigate the predictions based on Bandura's model of self-efficacy, along with the additional influence of autonomic perception on the approach/avoidance behavior of female college students (N = 80) attempting a modified-back dive. The Bandura model predicted a reciprocal relationship between self-efficacy and back-diving performance, and between self-efficacy and physiological arousal (heart rate). It was also predicted that autonomic perception was a better predictor of self-efficacy than was physiological arousal, but not better than previous back-diving performance. Additionally, self-efficacy was hypothesized to be the mediator of past performance accomplishments, physiological arousal, and autonomic perception on back-diving performance. Bandura's model was tested against a “full” model that included performance, autonomic perception, and actual physiological arousal, along with self-efficacy as direct causal influences of back-diving performance. Results provided greater support for the full model. Although one's self-efficacy was the major predictor of performance on Trial 1, subjects' heart rates also significantly predicted performance on Trial 1. After Trial 1, back-diving performance on a previous trial was the major predictor of performance on the next trial. Furthermore, one's perception of autonomic arousal was a significant influence on self-efficacy but not on performance. Previous back-diving performance, however, was a better predictor of self-efficacy than autonomic perception. No reciprocal relationship was found between self-efficacy and physiological arousal. Moreover, the full model explained more performance variance than did the Bandura model.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Deborah Feltz, Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.