Front Page Titles (by Subject) Self-Responsibility - Literature of Liberty, April/June 1978, vol. 1, No. 2
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Self-Responsibility - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, April/June 1978, vol. 1, No. 2 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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“Self-efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change.” Psychological Review 84 (1977): 191–215.
Government subsidies and welfare are frequently defended in the belief that such state support is needed to provide services for citizens who cannot provide for themselves. If individuals felt more self-esteem or more capable of providing for their own needs, they would seek external help less urgently. “Self-efficacy” is the term used to describe one's awareness of his or her capacity to “cope effectively.” The various factors influencing a person's beliefs concerning self-efficacy require detailed analysis. Although this discussion narrowly focuses on how different psychological treatment procedures affect self-efficacy and corresponding behavior changes, broader applications are possible.
Beliefs and expectations of one's own personal efficacy determine whether an individual will initiate coping behavior, how much effort he will expend, and how long he will cope in the face of trials and negative experiences. Beliefs about personal efficacy are distinguishable from beliefs about “response-outcome contingencies.” That is, to know that a particular personal response will produce a desired outcome does not necessarily induce a person to perform the appropriate behavior if that person harbors serious doubts about his ability to accomplish it effectively. Independent and autonomous behavior is more likely to occur if one is confident in his ability to carry it out and thereby achieve the desired outcome.
Four sources of information influence the level of one's perceived self-efficacy: (1) personal performance accomplishments, (2) vicarious experiences of others' accomplishments, (3) verbal persuasion, and (4) emotional arousal or physiological arousal. Of these sources, the most important are personal performance accomplishments. In effect, personal successes enhance self-efficacy expectations; personal failures diminish them. Failure occurring during initial attempts to perform tend to hurt our self-image more grievously than the same failure that occurs after a number of successes.
We learn self-efficacy not only from our own experiences but also from vicarious experiences, that is, from our observations of how others cope successfully with similar situations. But since vicarious experiences derive from social comparisons instead of personal experience, they are less powerful in establishing belief in our own mastery. Similarly, expectations of self-efficacy based solely on verbal persuasion rather than personal experience are less likely to produce significant behavioral change.
For persons possessed of a limited sense of personal efficacy, successful experiences will not necessarily create an intensified feeling of mastery. When expectations and beliefs have served as self-protective devices over a long period of time, we cannot readily modify them.
Such findings on self-efficacy have important implications for efforts to persuade others about the value of liberty. These efforts stand a better chance of success if the individual listener recognizes that his personal efficacy is adequate to meet his needs without feeling dependency toward others.