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Ability Self-Concept and Self-Efficacy in Higher Education: An Empirical Differentiation Based on Their Factorial Structure

  • Ability self-concept (SC) and self-efficacy (SE) are central competence-related self-perceptions that affect students’ success in educational settings. Both constructs show conceptual differences but their empirical differentiation in higher education has not been sufficiently demonstrated. In the present study, we investigated the empirical differentiation of SC and SE in higher education with N = 1,243 German psychology students (81% female; age M = 23.62 years), taking into account central methodological requirements that, in part, have been neglected in prior studies. SC and SE were assessed at the same level of specificity, only cognitive SC items were used, and multiple academic domains were considered. We modeled the structure of SC and SE taking into account a multidimensional and/or hierarchical structure and investigated the empirical differentiation of both constructs on different levels of generality (i.e., domain-specific and domain-general). Results supported the empirical differentiation of SC and SE with medium-sized positive latent correlations (range r = .57 - .68) between SC and SE on different levels of generality. The knowledge about the internal structure of students’ SC and SE and the differentiation of both constructs can help us to develop construct-specific and domain-specific intervention strategies. Future empirical comparisons of the predictive power of SC and SE can provide further evidence that both represent empirical different constructs.

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Author:Henrike PfeifferORCiD, Thomas Ellwart, Franzis Preckel
Parent Title (English):PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Place of publication:San Francisco, California
Document Type:Article
Date of completion:2020/07/21
Date of publication:2020/07/21
Publishing institution:Universität Trier
Contributing corporation:The publication was funded by the Open Access Fund of Universität Trier and the German Research Foundation (DFG)
Release Date:2021/09/03
GND Keyword:Lernen; Selbstwirksamkeit
Issue / no.:15/7
Number of pages:24
First page:1
Last page:24
Institutes:Fachbereich 1 / Psychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoCC BY: Creative-Commons-Lizenz 4.0 International

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