The relationship of children's assessment of self-efficacy to conceptual tempo and anxiety

Richard John Dackow, Fordham University


This study reopens a line of inquiry into the development of impulsivity by correcting prior methodological and theoretical deficiencies. Messer in a review of the literature concluded that impulsivity is associated with a wide variety of negative consequences in academic, social, and emotional areas. Research about the development of conceptual tempo has been long dormant, due to the conflicting and inconclusive results obtained concerning the nature of the relationship between anxiety and conceptual tempo.^ Bandura's construct self-efficacy provides an intergraded theoretical basis which can be operationalized to replace previously assumed and inferred constructs. The concept that anxiety, whether stemming from fear of failure or fear of making errors, is causally related to conceptual tempo can be replaced by a model based on self-efficacy theory. In the present study a model in which anxiety was a precursor of conceptual tempo disposition was contrasted to a model derived from Bandura's social learning theory, in which anxiety and impulsivity were seen as independent coeffects of self-efficacy. These models were contrasted to a third model in which impulsivity mediated between self-efficacy and anxiety.^ Eighty third grade students were administered a measure of anxiety, impulsivity, and matching task self-efficacy. Self-efficacy, as anticipated from Bandura's social learning theory, was found to be inversely related to impulsivity. Further, self-efficacy was found to have more than twice the predictive utility for conceptual tempo than did anxiety. Unexpectedly, no relationship was found between self-efficacy and anxiety. Therefore, the model derived from Bandura's theory was not supported. In the present study a higher level of anxiety was associated with the reflective response disposition. This could simply mean that impulsivity was effective as a defensive behavior, defending against anxiety. This possibility was explored through a third model.^ Three models were compared through path analysis. The data fit the model best which excluded self-efficacy. However, this model had the lowest predictive utility. The implications of the present results for previous research was discussed. Suggestions were made to improve the models derived from social learning theory, to improve self-efficacy levels of students, and for additional research. ^

Subject Area

Social psychology|Educational psychology|Developmental psychology|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Dackow, Richard John, "The relationship of children's assessment of self-efficacy to conceptual tempo and anxiety" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9109228.