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  • Print publication year: 1995
  • Online publication date: August 2010

6 - Self-efficacy in stressful life transitions


During the revolutionary events in East Germany in 1989, more than 300,000 citizens left that country and moved to West Germany. As a result of this exodus, more than 50,000 migrants settled in West Berlin. Some came via the West German embassies in Warsaw, Prague, or Budapest, or fled the country under other dubious and dangerous conditions. A larger number crossed the border after the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989. The aim of our program of research was to investigate psychoemotional and health-related adaptation processes within a subgroup of these migrants, that is, young adults. The focus centers on two research issues, both of which concern the contribution of perceived self-efficacy to adaptation processes. The first issue is concerned with whether general self-efficacy beliefs are affected by this stressful life transition. The stressors include the environmental constraints in the new country, unemployment, and lack of social support. The second issue examined the extent to which interindividual differences in stress appraisals, emotional states, and health can be predicted by general beliefs in personal efficacy, employment status, and partnership status as an indicator of access to social support. In this context, self-efficacy is conceived of not as a domain-specific or situation-specific cognition but as a traitlike general sense of confidence in one's own capabilities to master different types of environmental demands.

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Self-Efficacy in Changing Societies
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