Self-Efficacy and Optimism as Mediators of Perceived Stress in Adolescence
Keywords:adolescence, perceived stress, self-efficacy, optimism, problem questionnaire
The perceived stress of the adolescents in their daily lives gives valuable information regarding their attitude when encountering difficulties. Similarly, it provides insights on their level of contentment with their own lives. In this particular context, an array of resources which would allow them to cope with new situations that are inevitably caused by their development, becomes crucial.
This current research analyses the extent to which attitudes of self-efficacy and optimism influence teenagers’ thoughts and coping methods with the unpredicted and stressful events that life can bring to their daily routine (Jerusalem & Mittag, 1995).
In order to get an understanding in depth of the research topic, a sample of 525 Romanian students including 186 boys (35,4%) and 339 girls (64,6%) aged between 15 to 18 years old (average age = 16; SD = 1,04) were selected for the purpose of this study. The researcher’s hypothesis was based on the assumption that participants who demonstrate high levels of self-efficacy and optimism tend to evaluate problems as being less stressful while compared to those who scored lower percentages on these two attitudes. A quantitative methodology has been chosen to collect the data through the use of questionnaires including: the Problem Questionnaire (PQ), developed by Inge Seiffge-Krenke, the General Self- Efficacy Scale (GSE) by Jerusalem and Schwartzer (1992) and the Life Orientation Test-Revised developed by Carver and Scheier.
The results show that self-efficacy, the optimism level and resilience have a positive impact on how tasks are dealt with. Teenagers with strong attitudes of self-efficacy perceive themselves as being more capable of overcoming difficulties. They have a more optimistic perspective of situations, and they also tend to interpret life obstacles as challenges rather than threats, therefore focusing more on opportunities. On the other side, teenagers who scored low percentages on the self-efficacy and optimism analysis, seem to worry more and feel less proficient and capable when facing various tasks or stressful situations.
Bandura, A. (2000a). Autoefficacia. Teoria e applicazioni [Self-efficacy. Theory and applications]. Erickson.
Bandura, A. (2000b). Sviluppo sociale e cognitivo secondo una prospettiva “agentica” [Social and cognitive development according to an "agentic" perspective]. In G.V. Caprara & A. Fonzi. (Eds). L’età sospesa. Itinerari del viaggio adolescenziale [The suspended age. Teen travel itineraries], pp. 27-57. Giunti.
Caprara, G.V. & Scabini, E. (2000). La costruzione dell’identità nell’adolescenza. Il ruolo delle variabili familiari e delle convinzioni di efficacia personale [The construction of identity in adolescence. The role of family variables and personal efficacy beliefs]. In G.V., Caprara, & A. Fonzi (Eds). L’età sospesa. Itinerari del viaggio adolescenziale [The suspended age. Teen travel itineraries], pp. 58-89. Giunti.
Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1985). Optimism, pessimism, and self regulation. In E. C., Chang, & E. C., Chang (Eds.). Optimism & pessimism: Implications for theory, research, and practice, pp. 31-51. American Psychological Association.
Carver, C. S., Scheier, M. F. & Segerstrom, S. C. (2010). Optimism. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 879-889. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2010.01.006
Douvan, E., & Adelson, J. (1966). The Adolescent Experience. John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Ellicott, A., Hammen, C., Gitlin, M., Brown, G., & Jamison, K. (1990). Life events and the course of bipolar disorder. The American journal of psychiatry, 147(9), 1194–1198. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.147.9.1194
Finkelstein, D. M., Kubzansky, L. D., Capitman, J., & Goodman, E. (2007). Socioeconomic differences in adolescent stress: the role of psychological resources. The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, 40(2), 127–134. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2006.10.006
Havighurst, R.J. (1956). Research on the developmental task concept. The School Review, a Journal of Secondary Education, 64(5), 215-223. https://doi.org/10.1086/442319
Jerusalem, M., & Mittag, W. (1995). Self-efficacy in stressful life transitions. In A., Bandura. (Ed.). Self-efficacy in changing societies, pp. 177-201. Cambridge University Press.
Jerusalem, M., & Schwarzer, R. (1992). Self-efficacy as a resource factor in stress appraisal. In R. Schwarzer (Ed.). Self-efficacy: Thought control of action”, pp. 195–216. Hemisphere.
Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (1985). Optimism, coping, and health: assessment and implications of generalized outcome expectancies. Health psychology: official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association, 4(3), 219–247. https://doi.org/10.1037//0278-6184.108.40.206
Seiffge-Krenke, I., & Shulman, S. (1990). Coping style in adolescence: A cross-cultural study. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 21(3), 351–377. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022022190213006
Seiffge-Krenke, I., Shulman, S., & Klessinger. N. (Eds.) (2001). Adolescent precursors of romantic relationships in young adulthood. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 18(3), 327–346. https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407501183002
Zani, B. (1999). Strategie di coping in adolescenza [Coping strategies in adolescence]. In B., Zani, & E., Cicognani (Eds.). Le vie del benessere. Eventi di vita e strategie di coping [The ways of well-being. Life events and coping strategies], pp. 153-195. Carocci Editore.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 The Authors & LUMEN Publishing House
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication, with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work, with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g. post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in the journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g. in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as an earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
The Journal has an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs