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The murky distinction between self-concept and self-efficacy: beware of lurking jingle-jangle fallacies

Marsh, H. W., Pekrun, R., Parker, P. D., Murayama, K., Guo, J., Dicke, T. and Arens, A. K. (2019) The murky distinction between self-concept and self-efficacy: beware of lurking jingle-jangle fallacies. Journal of Educational Psychology, 111 (2). pp. 331-353. ISSN 0022-0663

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1037/edu0000281


This study extends the classic constructive dialogue/debate between self-concept and self-efficacy researchers (Marsh, Roche, Pajares & Miller, 1997) regarding the distinctions between these two constructs. The study is a substantive-methodological synergy, bringing together new substantive, theoretical and statistical models, and developing new tests of the classic jingle-jangle fallacy. We demonstrate that in a representative sample of 3,350 students from math classes in 43 German schools, generalized math self-efficacy and math outcome expectancies were indistinguishable from math self-concept, but were distinct from test-related and functional measures of self-efficacy. This is consistent with the jingle-jangle fallacies that are proposed. On the basis of pre-test-variables, we demonstrate negative frame-of-reference effects in social (big-fish-little-pond effect) and dimensional (internal/external frame-of-reference effect) comparisons for three self-concept-like constructs in each of the first four years of secondary school. In contrast, none of the frame-of-reference effects were significantly negative for either of the two self-efficacy-like constructs in any of the four years of testing. After controlling for pre-test variables, each of the three self-concept-like constructs (math self-concept, outcome expectancy, and generalized math self-efficacy) in each of the four years of secondary school was more strongly related to post-test outcomes (school grades, test scores, future aspirations) than were the corresponding two self-efficacy-like factors. Extending discussion by Marsh et al. (1997) we clarify distinctions between self-efficacy and self-concept; the role of evaluation, worthiness, and outcome expectancy in self-efficacy measures; and complications in generalized and global measures of self-efficacy.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:76681
Publisher:American Psychological Association


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