Self-efficacy and alcohol consumption: are efficacy measures confounded with motivation?

Tom St Quinton, Ben Morris, Alexander Lithopoulos, Paul Norman, Mark Conner, Ryan Rhodes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Recent research has suggested self-efficacy measures (i.e., I can) are confounded with motivation (i.e., I will). The study tested whether two measurement conditions can disentangle motivation from self-efficacy in relation to alcohol consumption. Specifically, the study compared a standard self-efficacy measurement condition with a motivation held constant (i.e., including “If I really wanted to” in self-efficacy measures) and a vignette condition (i.e., clarifying the definition of “can” before self-efficacy measurements). A randomized posttest-only design was used. A sample of 259 university students were allocated to one of three conditions (standard; motivation held constant; vignette) and completed measures of self-efficacy and alcohol consumption. Greater self-efficacy towards both consuming and refraining from alcohol was found in the vignette (d = 0.58 & 0.74) and motivation held constant (d = 0.34 & 0.58) conditions. Heavy drinkers in the vignette (d = 1.48) and motivation held constant (d = 0.93) conditions reported greater self-efficacy for refraining from alcohol than the standard condition. Self-efficacy towards refraining from alcohol in the standard condition (r = −.55) was more highly correlated with alcohol behaviour than self-efficacy in the vignette condition (r = −.06). The study adds to the evidence that standard measures of self-efficacy are confounded with motivation. Providing a vignette clarifying the meaning of self-efficacy and including “If I really wanted to” in self-efficacy measures can overcome self-efficacy confounding.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalCogent Psychology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2023


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