Self-Efficacy and Addictive Behaviors

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It was not long after Bandura introduced the construct of self-efficacy in 1977 that scientists and practitioners in the addictive behaviors began to use the construct in their theorizing and research. Marlatt and Gordon (1979) found a key role for self-efficacy in their model of relapse. Condiotte and Lichtenstein (1981), DiClemente (1981), and Shiffman (1982) began using self-efficacy to understand the process of smoking cessation. Heather, Rollnick and Winton (1982) and Litman and colleagues (1979) began discussing how efficacy could be used as a predictor of relapse in alcohol-dependence treatment. Self-efficacy demonstrated both conceptual and practical utility, as well as heuristic value, in these initial studies. Since 1977, many studies have used the construct with smoking, alcohol problems, drug abuse, and eating disorders. Measures of self-efficacy continue to prove valuable in the assessment and treatment of these addictive behaviors, particularly in the area of maintenance or relapse (Di-Clemente, 1986). However, questions and controversies surround the use and usefulness of self-efficacy with addictive behaviors. This chapter summarizes the issues that arise when applying self-efficacy to the addictive behaviors, as well as review studies that have used the construct with smoking, alcohol, drug abuse, and eating disorders.