A meta-synthesis of health-related self-efficacy instrumentation: Problems and suggestions

Vivian C SHEER*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


Background and Purpose: Self-efficacy, a central construct in health interventions, has been measured in various contexts. The absence of any published meta-review of self-efficacy instrumentation led to the current meta-synthesis that reports and evaluates the instrumentation processes. Methods: A systematic search resulted in 39 self-efficacy instrumentation studies, which were evaluated for the aspects of conceptual bases, health contexts, operational definition, instrumentation procedures, reliability and scale length, and item content. Results: Primarily based in Bandura's social cognitive theory, these studies reported selfefficacy instrumentation for developing new scales and modifying/validating measures for illness management, healthy behavior adoption/maintenance, disease/risk prevention, and aging management. Trait-like, specific-domain, and situation approaches were used for generating item content. Problems in some studies include non-efficacy items, a lack of systematic instrumentation procedures, item content too general for specific-domain self-efficacy, and measurement inefficiency. Conclusions: The piecemeal fashion of selfefficacy instrumentation has resulted in incomparable self-efficacy measures of similar domains of health functioning. A trans-domain framework, thus, is warranted. Suggestions are provided for solving other problems in self-efficacy instrumentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-93
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Nursing Measurement
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Nursing(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • self-efficacy measures
  • social cognitive theory
  • meta-synthesis
  • item content validity


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