What is it about?

The study used the General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE) with a Norwegian general population sample. We compared self-efficacy beliefs between persons in different age groups, between men and women, between persons with higher and lower levels of education, and between those with and without employment.

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Why is it important?

GSE is a consistent indicator of health. Therefore, knowledge about the level and distribution of GSE in different population groups is important in a coping perspective relevant to health outcomes, daily life and work.


Self-efficacy denotes our "I can do this"-beliefs. Building predominantly from mastery experiences over time, specific self-efficacy beliefs in a range of areas and domains are believed to translate into a more generalized "I can cope with things in general"-belief. This is a trait-like quality linked with personality, but still amenable to change over time. In this study, we confirmed several findings from previous reserach in the representative Norwegian population sample. We found that men had higher levels of GSE than women, and those in the highest age group (71 years and above) had lower levels of GSE than persons in the younger age groups. Those with higher levels of education had higher GSE levels than their counterparts, and importantly, those who were employed or were enrolled in education had higher levels than those who were not. The moderating effect of age was particularly interesting. Men had higher GSE levels than women across all age groups, but the gender difference was more outspoken among those in the youngest age group. Similarly, those with employment had higher GSE levels than those who did not across all age groups, but the difference according to employment status was larger among those of younger age. An important finding of the study is, therefore, that the worker role is of great importance for GSE. When persons in the older age groups are at risk of experiencing lower GSE, this appears to be much instigated by their loss of the worker role. However, the interaction effect might be of even greater importance towards the younger end of the age continuum. At younger age, when people are generally supposed to be able and productive, being outside of work may have a stronger negative influence on GSE

Professor Tore Bonsaksen
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: General self-efficacy in the Norwegian population: Differences and similarities between sociodemographic groups, Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, February 2018, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/1403494818756701.
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