Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: June 2012

14 - Gender Differences in Mathematics Self-Efficacy Beliefs

Summary

In the early 1940s, at the height of behaviorism's influence on American psychology and education, learning theorists began to propose theories of social learning and imitation that rejected behaviorist notions of associationism in favor of drive reduction principles (e.g., Miller & Dollard, 1941). Although these theories were instrumental in emphasizing the role that social processes play on human learning and functioning, they failed to take into account the creation of novel responses or the processes of delayed and nonreinforced behaviors. In 1963, Bandura and Walters proposed a theory of social learning that broadened the frontiers of existing theories with the now familiar principles of observational learning and vicarious reinforcement. Bandura (1977, 1986) later proposed a view of human functioning that accorded a central role to cognitive, vicarious, self-regulatory, and self-reflective processes in human adaptation and change. In this sociocognitive perspective, individuals are viewed as proactive and self-regulating rather than as reactive and controlled by biological or environmental forces.

Social cognitive theory is rooted in a view of human agency in which individuals are proactively engaged in their own development and can make things happen by their actions. Key to this sense of agency is the fact that, among other personal factors, individuals possess self-beliefs that enable them to exercise a measure of control over their thoughts, feelings, and actions, that “what people think, believe, and feel affects how they behave” (Bandura, 1986, p. 5).

References
Aiken, L. R. (1970a). Attitudes toward mathematics. Review of Educational Research, 40, 551–596
Aiken, L. R. (1970b). Nonintellective variables and mathematics achievement: Directions for research. Journal of School Psychology, 8, 28–36
Aiken, L. R. (1972). Research on attitudes toward mathematics. Arithmetic Teacher, 19, 229–234
Aiken, L. R. (1974). Two scales of attitude toward mathematics. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 5, 67–71
Armstrong, J. M. (1980). Achievement and participation of women in mathematics: An overview. Denver: Education Commission of the States
Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191–215
Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman
Bandura, A. (2001). Guide for constructing self-efficacy scales. Available from Frank Pajares, Emory University
Bandura, A., & Schunk, D. H. (1981). Cultivating competence, self-efficacy, and intrinsic interest through proximal self-motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 41, 586–598
Bandura, A., & Walters, R. H. (1963). Social learning and personality development. New York: Rinehart and Winston
Beal, C. R. (1994). Boys and girls: The development of gender roles. New York: McGraw Hill
Beal, C. R. (1999). Introduction: Special issue on the math-fact retrieval hypothesis. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 24, 171–180
Benbow, C. P., & Stanley, J. C. (1980). Sex differences in mathematics ability: Fact or artifact? Science, 210, 1262–1264
Benbow, C. P., & Stanley, J. C. (1982). Consequences in high school and college of sex differences in mathematical reasoning ability: A longitudinal perspective. American Educational Research Journal, 19, 598–622
Benbow, C. P., & Stanley, J. C. (1983). Sex differences in mathematical reasoning ability: More facts. Science, 222, 1029–1031
Benson, J. (1989). Structural components of statistical test anxiety in adults: An exploratory study. Journal of Experimental Education, 57, 247–261
Betz, N. E., & Hackett, G. (1983). The relationship of mathematics self-efficacy expectations to the selection of science-based college majors. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 23, 329–345
Bong, M. (2002). Predictive utility of subject-, task-, and problem-specific self-efficacy judgments for immediate and delayed academic performances. Journal of Experimental Education, 70, 133–162
Busch, T. (1995). Gender differences in self-efficacy and academic performance among students of business administration. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 39, 311–318
Bussey, K., & Bandura, A. (1999). Social cognitive theory of gender development and differentiation. Psychology Review, 106, 676–713
Cooper, S. E., & Robinson, D. A. G. (1991). The relationship of mathematics self-efficacy beliefs to mathematics anxiety and performance. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 24, 4–11
Crosswhite, F. J. (1972). Correlates of attitudes toward mathematics. National Longitudinal Study of Mathematical Abilities, Report No. 20. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press
Eccles, J. (1983). Expectancies, values, and academic behavior. In J. T. Spencer (Ed.), Achievement and achievement motivation (pp. 75–146). San Francisco: W. H. Freeman
Eccles, J. (1987). Gender roles and women's achievement-related decisions. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 11, 135–172
Eccles, J., Adler, T., & Kaczala, C. M. (1982). Socialization of achievement attitudes and beliefs: Parental influences. Child Development, 53, 310–321
Eccles, J., Adler, T., & Meece, J. L. (1984). Sex differences in achievement: A test of alternate theories. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 26–43
Eccles, J., Barber, B., Jozefowicz, D., Malenchuk, O., & Vida, M. (2000). Self-evaluations of competence, task values, and self-esteem. In N. Johnson, M. Roberts, & J. Worrell (Eds.), Girls and adolescence (pp. 53–84). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association
Eccles, J., & Jacobs, J. E. (1986). Social forces shape math attitudes and performance. Signs, 11, 367–389
Eccles, J., Kaczala, C. M., & Meece, J. L. (1982). Socialization of achievement attitudes and beliefs: Classroom influences. Child Development, 53, 322–339
Erkut, S. (1983). Exploring sex differences in expectancy, attributions, and academic achievement. Sex Roles, 9, 217–231
Eisenberg, N., Martin, C. L., & Fabes, R. A. (1996). Gender development and gender effects. In D. C. Berliner & R. C. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 358–396). New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan
Fennema, E. (1980). Sex-related differences in mathematics achievement: Where and why. In L. H. Fox, L. Brody, & D. Tobin (Eds.), Women and the mathematical mystique (pp. 76–93). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press
Fennema, E., & Hart, L. E. (1994). Gender and the JRME. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 25, 648–659
Fennema, E., & Sherman, J. A. (1976). Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitude Scales: Instruments designed to measure attitudes toward the learning of mathematics by females and males. JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology (Ms. No. 1225), 6, 31
Fennema, E., & Sherman, J. A. (1977). Sex-related differences in mathematics achievement, spatial visualization, and affective factors. American Educational Research Journal, 14, 51–71
Fennema, E., & Sherman, J. A. (1978). Sex-related differences in mathematics achievement and related factors: A further study. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 9, 189–203
Flynn, E. A. (1988). Composing as a woman. College Composition and Communication, 39, 423–435
Fouad, N. A., & Smith, P. L. (1996). A test of a social cognitive model for middle school students: Math and science. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 43, 338–346
Gainor, K. A., & Lent, R. W. (1998). Social cognitive expectations and racial identity attitudes in predicting the math choice intentions of Black college students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 45, 403–413
Graham, S., & Weiner, B. (1996). Theories and principles of motivation. In D. C. Berliner & R. C. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 63–84). New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan
Gwilliam, L. R., & Betz, N. E. (2001). Validity of measures of math- and science-related self-efficacy for African Americans and European Americans. Journal of Career Assessment, 9, 261–281
Hackett, G. (1985). The role of mathematics self-efficacy in the choice of math-related majors of college women and men: A path analysis. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 32, 47–56
Hackett, G. (1995). Self-efficacy in career choice and development. In A. Bandura (Ed.), Self-efficacy in changing societies (pp. 232–258). New York: Cambridge University Press
Hackett, G., & Betz, N. E. (1989). An exploration of the mathematics self-efficacy/mathematics performance correspondence. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 20, 261–273
Harter, S., Waters, P., & Whitesell, N. (1997). Lack of voice as a manifestation of false self-behavior among adolescents: The school setting as a stage upon which the drama of authenticity is enacted. Educational Psychologist, 32, 153–173
Hendel, D. D. (1980). Experimental and affective correlates of math anxiety in adult women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 5, 219–230
Hilton, T. L., & Berglünd, G. W. (1974). Sex differences in mathematics achievement: A longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Research, 67, 231–237
Jacklin, C. N. (1989). Female and male: Issues of gender. American Psychologist, 44, 127–133
Jorde-Blom, P. (1988). Self-efficacy expectations as a predictor of computer use: A look at early childhood administrators. Computers in the School, 5, 45–63
Junge, M. E., & Dretzke, B. J. (1995). Mathematical self-efficacy gender differences in gifted/talented adolescents. Gifted Child Quarterly, 39, 22–26
Karniol, R., Gabay, R., Ochion, Y., & Harari, Y. (1998). Is gender or gender-role orientation a better predictor of empathy in adolescence. Sex Roles, 39, 45–59
Lapan, R. T., Boggs, K. R., & Morrill, W. H. (1989). Self-efficacy as a mediator of investigative and realistic general occupational themes on the Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 36, 176–182
Lent, R. W., Brown, S. D., Gover, M. R., & Nijjer, S. K. (1996). Cognitive assessment of the sources of mathematics self-efficacy: A thought-listing analysis. Journal of Career Assessment, 4, 33–46
Lent, R. W., Brown, S. D., & Larkin, K. C. (1984). Relation of self-efficacy expectations to academic achievement and persistence. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 31, 356–362
Lent, R. W., Brown, S. D., & Larkin, K. C. (1986). Self-efficacy in the prediction of academic performance and perceived career options. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 33, 265–269
Lent, R. W., Lopez, F. G., & Bieschke, K. J. (1991). Mathematics self-efficacy: Sources and relation to science-based career choice. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 38, 424–430
Lent, R. W., Lopez, F. G., & Bieschke, K. J. (1993). Predicting mathematics-related choice and success behaviors: Test of an expanded social cognitive model. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 42, 223–236
Lopez, F. G., & Lent, R. W. (1992). Sources of mathematics self-efficacy of high school students. The Career Development Quarterly, 41, 3–12
Lussier, G. (1996). Sex and mathematical background as predictors of anxiety and self-efficacy in mathematics. Psychological Reports, 79, 827–833
Maccoby, E., & Jacklin, C. (1974). Psychology of sex differences. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press
Malpass, J., O'Neil, H., & Hocevar, D. (1999). Self-regulation, goal orientation, self-efficacy, worry, and high-stakes math achievement for mathematically gifted high school students. Roeper Review, 21, 281
Matsui, T. (1994). Mechanisms underlying sex differences in career self-efficacy expectations of university students. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 45, 177–184
Matsui, T., Ikeda, H., & Ohnishi, R. (1989). Relations of sex-typed socializations to career self-efficacy expectations of college students. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 35, 1–16
Matsui, T., Matsui, K., & Ohnishi, R. (1990). Mechanisms underlying math self-efficacy learning of college students. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 37, 225–238
Matsui, T., & Tsukamoto, S. (1991). Relation between career self-efficacy measures based on occupational titles and Holland codes and model environments: A methodological contribution. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 38, 78–91
Meece, J. L., & Courtney, D. P. (1992). Gender differences in students' perceptions: Consequences for achievement-related choices. In D. H. Schunk & J. L. Meece (Eds.), Student perceptions in the classroom (pp. 209–228). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Middleton, M. J., & Midgley, C. (1997). Avoiding the demonstration of lack of ability: An underexplored aspect of goal theory. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89, 710–718
Miller, N. E., & Dollard, J. (1941). Social learning and imitation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
Miura, I. T. (1987). The relationship of self-effcicacy expectations to computer interest and course enrollment in college. Sex-Roles, 16, 303–311
Noddings, N. (1996, April). Current directions in self research: Self-concept, self-efficacy, and possible selves. Symposium presented at the meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York
Norwich, B. (1986). Assessing perceived self efficacy in relation to mathematics tasks: A study of the reliability and validity of assessment. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 56, 180–189
Nosek, B. A., Banaji, M. R., & Greenwald, A. G. (2002). Man = male, Me = female, therefore math ≠ me. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 44–59
Pajares, F. (1996a). Role of self-efficacy beliefs in the mathematical problem-solving of gifted students. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 21, 325–344
Pajares, F. (1996b). Self-efficacy beliefs in academic settings. Review of Educational Research, 66, 543–578
Pajares, F. (1997). Current directions in self-efficacy research. In M. Maehr & P. R. Pintrich (Eds.), Advances in motivation and achievement (Vol. 10, pp. 1–49). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press
Pajares, F., & Graham, L. (1999). Self-efficacy, motivation constructs, and mathematics performance of entering middle school students. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 24, 124–139
Pajares, F., & Kranzler, J. (1995). Self-efficacy beliefs and general mental ability in mathematical problem-solving. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 26, 426–443
Pajares, F., & Miller, M. D. (1994). The role of self-efficacy and self-concept beliefs in mathematical problem-solving: A path analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 86, 193–203
Pajares, F., & Miller, M. D. (1995). Mathematics self-efficacy and mathematics performances: The need for specificity of assessment. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 42, 190–198
Pajares, F., Miller, M. D., & Johnson, M. J. (1999). Gender differences in writing self-beliefs of elementary school students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 50–61
Pajares, F., & Valiante, G. (1999). Grade level and gender differences in the writing self-beliefs of middle school students. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 24, 390–405
Pajares, F., & Valiante, G. (2001). Gender differences in writing motivation and achievement of middle school students: A function of gender orientation? Contemporary Educational Psychology, 26, 366–381
Pajares, F., & Valiante, G. (2002). Students' self-efficacy in their self-regulated learning strategies: A developmental perspective. Psychologia, 45, 211–221
Pedro, J. D., Wolleat, P., Fennema, E., & Becker, A. D. (1981). Election of high school mathematics by females and males: Attributions and attitudes. American Educational Research Journal, 2, 207–218
Phillips, D. A., & Zimmerman, M. (1990). The developmental course of perceived competence and incompetence among competent children. In R. J. Sternberg & J. Kolligian, Jr. (Eds.), Competence considered (pp. 41–66). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
Pintrich, P. R., & Groot, E. V. (1990). Motivational and self-regulated learning components of classroom academic performance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 33–40
Pintrich, P. R., & Schunk, D. H. (2002). Motivation in education: Theory, research, and applications (2nd ed). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall
Post, P., Stewart, M. A., & Smith, P. L. (1991). Self-efficacy, interest, and consideration of mathscience and non-mathscience occupations among Black freshmen. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 38, 179–186
Post-Kammer, P., & Smith, P. L. (1985). Sex differences in career self-efficacy, consideration, and interest of eighth and ninth graders. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 32, 63–81
Randhawa, B. S. (1994). Self-efficacy in mathematics, attitudes, and achievements of boys and girls from restricted samples in 2 countries. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 79, 1011–1018
Randhawa, B. S., Beamer, J. E., & Lundberg, I. (1993). Role of mathematics self-efficacy in the structural model of mathematics achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 85, 41–48
Reis, S. M., & Park, S. (2001). Gender differences in high-achieving students in math and science. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 25, 52–73
Reyes, L. H. (1984). Affective variables and mathematics education. The Elementary School Journal, 84, 558–581
Sadker, M., & Sadker, D. (1994). Failing at fairness: How America's schools cheat girls. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons
Schunk, D. H. (1991). Self-efficacy and academic motivation. Educational Psychologist, 26, 207–231
Schunk, D. H., & Lilly, M. W. (1984). Sex differences in self-efficacy and attributions: Influence of performance feedback. Journal of Early Adolescence, 4, 203–213
Schunk, D. H., & Pajares, F. (2002). The development of academic self-efficacy. In A. Wigfield & J. Eccles (Eds.), Development of achievement motivation (pp. 15–31). San Diego, CA: Academic Press
Schwarz, N. (1999). Self-reports: How the questions shape the answers. American Psychologist, 54, 93–105
Seegers, G., & Boekaerts, M. (1996). Gender-related differences in self-referenced cognitions in relation to mathematics. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 27, 215–240
Sells, L. W. (1980). The mathematical filter and the education of women and minorities. In L. H. Fox, L. Brodey, & D. Tobin (Eds.), Women and the mathematical mystique (pp. 66–75). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
Sherman, J. (1980). Mathematics, spatial visualization, and related factors: Changes in girls and boys, grades 8–11. Journal of Educational Psychology, 72, 476–482
Sherman, J., & Fennema, E. (1977). The study of mathematics by high school girls and boys: Related variables. American Educational Research Journal, 14, 159–168
Siegel, R. G., Galassi, J. P., & Ware, W. B. (1985). A comparison of two models for predicting mathematics performance: Social learning versus math aptitude-anxiety. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 32, 531–538
Siegle, D., & Reis, S. M. (1998). Gender differences in teacher and student perceptions of gifted students' ability and effort. Gifted Child Quarterly, 41, 39–47
Smead, V. S., & Chase, C. I. (1981). Student expectations as they relate to achievement in eighth grade mathematics. Journal of Educational Research, 75, 115–120
Stajkovic, A. D., & Luthans, F. (1998). Self-efficacy and work-related performances: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 240–261
Stipek, D. J. (2002). Motivation to learn (4th ed). Boston: Allyn & Bacon
Terwilliger, J. S., & Titus, J. C. (1995). Gender differences in attitudes and attitude changes among mathematically talented youth. Gifted Child Quarterly, 39, 29–35
Vasil, L., Hesketh, B., & Podd, J. (1987). Sex differences in computing behaviour among secondary school pupils. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 22, 201–214
Vollmer, F. (1984). Sex differences in personality and expectancy. Sex Roles, 11, 1121–1139
Vollmer, F. (1986a). The relationship between expectancy and academic achievement: How can it be explained? British Journal of Educational Psychology, 56, 64–74
Vollmer, F. (1986b). Why do men have higher expectancy than women? Sex Roles, 14, 351–362
Wigfield, A., Eccles, J., MacIver, D., Reuman, D., & Midgley, C. (1991). Transitions at early adolescence: Changes in children's domain specific self-perceptions and general self-esteem across the transitions to junior high school. Developmental Psychology, 27, 552–565
Wigfield, A., Eccles, J. S., & Pintrich, P. R. (1996). Development between the ages of 11 and 25. In D. C. Berliner & R. C. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 148–185). New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan
Williams, J. E. (1994). Gender differences in high-school students efficacy-expectation performance discrepancies across 4 subject-matter domains. Psychology in the Schools, 31, 232–237
Zeldin, A. L., & Pajares, F. (2000). Against the odds: Self-efficacy beliefs of women in mathematical, scientific, and technological careers. American Educational Research Journal, 37, 215–246
Zimmerman, B. J., Bandura, A., & Martinez-Pons, M. (1992). Self-motivation for academic attainment: The role of self-efficacy beliefs and personal goal setting. American Educational Research Journal, 29, 663–676
Zimmerman, B. J., & Martinez-Pons, M. (1990). Student differences in self-regulated learning: Relating grade, sex, and giftedness to self-efficacy and strategy use. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 51–59