Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

A longitudinal study of self-efficacy and depressive symptoms in youth of a North American Plains tribe1

  • Walter D. Scott (a1) and Eric Dearing (a2)

We used a 3-year cross-sequential longitudinal design to examine the relations between self-efficacy judgments in three different domains (academic, social, resisting negative peer influences), cultural identity, theories of intelligence, and depressive symptoms. One hundred ninety-eight American Indian youths participated in the study, who all attended a middle school on a reservation in the northern plains of the United States. We conducted multilevel models to examine both between- and within-person associations as well as to investigate lagged within-youth associations. We found that not only did youths with relatively high self-efficacy have lower depressive symptom levels than other youths, but also increases in efficacy beliefs for academic, social, and for resisting negative peer influences predicted decreases in depressive symptoms within youths, even after controlling for previous levels of depressive symptoms as well as both contemporaneous and previous academic achievement. Neither cultural identity nor theories of intelligence moderated the relationship between self-efficacy and depression. As the first evidence that within-youth improvements in self-efficacy has developmental benefits, our findings help fill a long empty niche in the line of studies investigating the impact of efficacy beliefs on depressive symptoms.

Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Walter D. Scott, Department of Psychology, University of Wyoming, P.O. Box 3415, Laramie, WY 82071-3415; E-mail:
Hide All

The confidentiality of the tribe is considered as important as the confidentiality of the individual in Indian communities (Norton & Manson, 1996). Therefore, the tribe that this study was conducted with will be described in general terms (i.e., Northern Plains).

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

L. M. Ackerson , R. W. Dick , S. M. Manson , & A. E. Baron (1990). Properties of the Inventory to diagnose depression in American Indian adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 29, 601607.

A. Bandura (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191215.

A. Bandura (2002). Social cognitive theory in cultural context. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 51, 269290.

A. Bandura , G. V. Caprara , C. Barbaranelli , M. Gerbino , & C. Pastorelli (2003). Role of affective self-regulatory efficacy in diverse spheres of psychosocial functioning. Child Development, 74, 769782.

A. Bandura , C. Pastorelli , C. Barbaranelli , & G. V. Caprara (1999). Self-efficacy pathways to child depression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 258269.

L. S. Blackwell , K. H. Trzesniewski , & C. S. Dweck (2007). Implicit theories of intelligence predict achievement across an adolescent transition: A longitudinal study and an intervention. Child Development, 78, 246263.

J. Y. Caldwell , J. D. Davis , B. Du Bois , H. Echo-Hawk , J. S. Erickson , R. T. Goins , (2005). Culturally competent research with American Indians and Alaska Natives: Findings and recommendations of the First Symposium of the Work Group on American Indian Research and Program Evaluation Methodology. American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research, 12, 121.

G. V. Caprara , C. Regalia , & A. Bandura (2002). Longitudinal impact of perceived self-regulatory efficacy on violent conduct. European Psychologist, 7, 6369.

S. X. Chen , W. Chan , M. H. Bond , & S. M. Stewart (2006). The effects of self-efficacy and relationship harmony on depression across cultures: Applying level-oriented and structure-oriented analyses. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 37, 643658.

A. H. N. Cillessen , & A. J. Rose (2005). Understanding popularity in the peer system. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14, 102105.

D. A. Cole , J. M. Martin , L. G. Peeke , A. D. Seroczynski , & K. Hoffman (1998). Are cognitive errors of underestimation predictive or reflective of depressive symptoms in children: A longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 107, 481496.

R. J. Coplan , J. Wilson , S. L. Frohlick , & J. Zelenski (2006). A person-oriented analysis of behavioral inhibition and behavioral activation in children. Personality and Individual Differences, 41, 917927.

W. E. Craighead , L. W. Craighead , M. R. Smucker , & S. S. Ilardi (1998). Factor analysis of the children's depression inventory in a community sample. Psychological Assessment, 10, 156165.

W. E. Craighead , J. F. Curry , & S. S. Illardi (1995). Relationship of Children's Depression Inventory factors to major depression among adolescents. Psychological Assessment, 7, 171176.

E. Dearing (2008). The psychological costs of growing up poor. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1136, 324332.

E. Dearing , K. McCartney , & B. A. Taylor (2006). Within-child associations between family income and externalizing and internalizing problems. Developmental Psychology, 42, 237252.

E. Diener , & M. Diener (1995). Cross cultural correlates of life satisfaction and self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 653663.

G. J. Duncan , K. A. Magnuson , & J. Ludwig (2004). The endogeneity problem in developmental studies. Research in Human Development, 1, 5980.

C. S. Dweck , C. Chiu , & Y. Hong (1995). Implicit theories and their role in judgments and reactions: A world from two perspectives. Psychological Inquiry, 6, 267285.

S. N. Elliot , C. K. Malecki , & M. K. Demaray (2001). New directions in social skills assessment and intervention for elementary and middle school students. Exceptionality, 9, 1932.

C. A. Erdley , K. M. Cain , C. C. Loomis , F. Dumas-Hines , & C. S. Dweck (1997). Relations among children's social goals, implicit personality theories, and responses to social failure. Developmental Psychology, 33, 263272.

C. A. Erdley , & C. S. Dweck (1993). Children's implicit theories as predictors of their social judgments. Child Development, 64, 863878.

K. A. Fanti , & C. C. Henrich (2010). Trajectories of pure and co-occurring internalizing and externalizing problems from age 2 to age 12: Findings from the National Institutue of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care. Developmental Psychology, 46, 11591175.

J. P. Gone (2007). “We never was happy living like a Whiteman”: Mental health disparities and the postcolonial predicament in American Indian communities. American Journal of Community Psychology, 40, 290300.

S. K. Hamill , W. D. Scott , E. Dearing , & C. Pepper (2009). Affective style and depressive symptoms in youth of a North American Plains tribe: The moderating roles of cultural identity, grade level, and behavioral inhibition. Personality and Individual Differences, 47, 110115.

S. J. Heine , & D. R. Lehman (1999). Culture, self-discrepancies, and self-satisfaction. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 915925.

K. B. Hoffman , D. A. Cole , J. M. Martin , J. Tram , & A. D. Seroczynksi (2000). Are the discrepancies between self- and other's appraisals of competence predictive or reflective of depressive symptoms in children and adolescents: A longitudinal study, part II. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 109, 651662.

J. Kiesner (2002). Depressive symptoms in early adolescence: Their problems with classroom problem behavior and peer status. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 12, 463478.

J. Kim , & D. Cicchetti (2003). Social self-efficacy and behavior problems in maltreated and nonmaltreated children. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 32, 106117.

D. N. Klein , L. R. Dougherty , & T. M. Olino (2005). Toward guidelines for evidence-based assessment of depression in children and adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34, 412432.

J. V. Lerner , E. Phelps , Y. Forman , & E. P. Bowers (2009). Postive youth development. In R. M. Lerner & L. Steinberg's (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent psychology: Vol. 1. Individual bases of adolescent development (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

A. S. Masten , J. Hubbard , S. D. Gest , A. Tellegen , N. Garmezy , & M. Ramirez (1999). Adversity, resources, and resilience: Pathways to competence from childhood to late adolescence. Development and Psychopathology, 11, 143169.

J. R. Moran , C. M. Fleming , P. Somervell , & S. M. Manson (1999). Measuring bicultural ethnic identity among American Indian adolescents: A factor analysis study. Journal of Adolescent Research, 14, 405426.

P. Muris (2002). Relationships between self-efficacy and symptoms of anxiety disorders and depression in a normal adolescent sample. Personality and Individual Differences, 32, 337348.

P. Muris , C. Meesters , E. de Kanter , & P. E. Timmerman (2005). Behavioral inhibition and behavioral activation system scales for children: Relationships with Eysenck's personality traits and psychopathological symptoms. Personality and Individual Differences, 38, 831841.

I. M. Norton , & S. M. Manson (1996). Research in American Indian and Alaska Native communities: Navigating the cultural universe of values and process. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64, 856860.

T. E. Olioff , S. E. Bryson , & N. P. Wadden (1989). Predictive relation of automatic thoughts and student efficacy to depressive symptoms in undergraduates. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 21, 353363.

P. C. Rodkin , T. W. Farmer , R. Pearl , & R. Van Acker (2000). Heterogeneity of popular boys: Antisocial and prosocial configurations. Developmental Psychology, 36, 1424.

D. B. Rubin (1987). Multiple imputation for nonresponse in surveys. New York: Wiley.

J. L. Schafer , & J. W. Graham (2002). Missing data: Our view of the state of the art. Psychological Methods, 7, 147177.

C. Segrin (2000). Social skills deficits associated with depression. Clinical Psychology Review, 20, 379403.

A. D. Stajkovic , & F. Luthans (1998). Self-efficacy and work-related performance: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 240261.

L. Steinberg , & S. B. Silvergerg (1986). The vicissitudes of autonomy in early adolescnece. Child Development, 57, 841851.

S. M. Stewart , B. D. Kennard , P. W. H. Lee , C. W. Hughes , T. L. Mayes , G. J. Emslie , (2004). A cross-cultural investigation of cognitions and depressive symptoms in adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 113, 248257.

E. Suh , E. Diener , S. Oishi , & H. C. Triandis (1998). The shifting basis of life satisfaction judgments across cultures: Emotions versus norms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 482493.

L. E. Thrane , L. B. Whitbeck , D. R. Hoyt , & M. C. Shelley (2004). Comparing three measures of depressive symptoms among American Indian adolescents. American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research, 11, 2042.

M. A. Whisman , & G. H. McClelland (2005). Designing, testing, and interpreting interactions and moderator effects in family research. Journal of Family Psychology, 19, 111120.

N. R. Whitesell , C. M. Mitchell , C. E. Kaufman , & P. Spicer , and the Voices of Indian Teens Project Team. (2006). Developmental trajectories of personal and collective self-concept among American Indian adolescents. Child Development, 77, 14871503.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Development and Psychopathology
  • ISSN: 0954-5794
  • EISSN: 1469-2198
  • URL: /core/journals/development-and-psychopathology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 7
Total number of PDF views: 45 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 186 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.