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Notwithstanding the far reaching intellectual and practical contributions of Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy, researchers have suggested that it may not adequately address the role of institutions. This paper suggests that traditional measures of self-efficacy underemphasize institutional factors. This may have important implications, especially for considering the circumstances of disadvantaged groups. It may be productive to think of self-efficacy as a multidimensional construct that includes personal and institutional dimensions. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we examine how self-efficacy theory can be expanded to account for the social and economic realities of disadvantaged groups and lead to empirical work that can inform policy and programs.

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Working Paper


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Original Citation

Elliott, W., III, & Sherraden, M. S. (2006). Academic capabilities and disadvantaged students: The role of institutions (CSD Working Paper No. 06-13). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.


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low income, education, race, institutional theory, institutional support, children, economic empowerment, policy, academic achievement