Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation
Psychological and Brain Sciences
Newton, Tamara L.
Self-efficacy; psychological abuse; college women; psychological maltreatment
Self-efficacy; Psychological abuse; Identity (Psychology); Women college students--Mental health
The current research proposed that psychological abuse within an intimate relationship erodes one's self-efficacy and aimed to demonstrate a negative relationship between past psychological abuse and how one reacts to a challenge. It was hypothesized that when faced with a challenging task past psychological abuse would be related to decreased task persistence, increased negative affect, and choosing low-difficulty future tasks. Each of these relationships would then be simultaneously mediated by general and specific self-efficacy. The study was conducted in two phases with undergraduate women. During the first phase participants self-reported demographic and relationship history information, level of general self-efficacy, and level of past psychological abuse in a romantic relationship via an online survey. Eligible participants were invited to a participate in the study's second phase, where they were presented with a challenging task - a set of unsolvable anagrams - and their task persistence, change in affect, and chosen difficulty level of a future task were assessed. A total of 300 participants completed the first study phase, with an additional 60 participants completing both the first and second phases. A three-path, joint significance test of mediation tested study hypotheses. Past psychological abuse significantly predicted decreases in general self-efficacy, but when controlling for past psychological abuse, general self-efficacy did not significantly predict specific self-efficacy. When controlling for past psychological abuse and general self-efficacy, specific self-efficacy did not significantly predict task persistence or change in negative affect, but did significantly predict the chosen difficulty level of a future task. Support for the proposed models was not found. As predicted, past psychological abuse was negatively and directly related to general self-efficacy, but was not related to specific self-efficacy, task persistence, or change in negative affect. A direct relationship was also found between specific self-efficacy and the chosen difficulty level of a future task; this relationship was not hypothesized but is consistent with the literature. The restricted ranges of past psychological abuse and general self-efficacy found in the sample, as well as internal and external validity limitations, are discussed as possible explanations for the study's results. Future directions are also outlined.
Hosey, Kristen E., "Self-efficacy in the context of psychological abuse: a model of efficacy erosion." (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 636.