Bandura (1977) has proposed self-efficacy as a common cognitive mechanism accounting for the effects of various psychological processes on performance. Although recent studies have provided preliminary evidence for the relationship between self-efficacy and subsequent performance on competitive motor tasks, little has been done to examine the relationship between self-efficacy and the cognitive appraisal of competitive sport information. The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship exists between personal self-efficacy and the causal explanations given for performance in a competitive sport setting. Subjects were manipulated into high and low efficacy groups, engaged in a competitive motor task against an opponent, and then gave causal attributions for outcome. Multivariate analyses did not reveal any significant differences between high and low efficacy groups' causal explanations for outcome. However, winners made more stable and controllable attributions than did losers. The results are discussed in terms of the possible perception of lack of responsibility for outcomes that do not occur in natural environments, consequently eliminating the need for causal ascriptions.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Edward McAuley, University of Oregon, Department of Physical Education and Human Movement Studies, Esslinger Hall, Eugene, OR 97403.