Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 79–89 | Cite as

The Role of Self-Efficacy in Reading Achievement of Young Children in Urban Schools

  • Yung Soo LeeEmail author
  • Melissa Jonson-Reid


Academic self-efficacy has been found to be important in predicting educational success among older children and adolescents, but scant work has addressed this for very young children. This study explored (a) whether academic self-efficacy appears to be associated with reading achievement among children in urban elementary schools in primary grades, (b) whether one can differentiate between concepts of self-efficacy and self-concept within this age group, and, if so, which has more predictive power for reading achievement, and (c) whether student motivation and classroom behavior mediate the relationship between self-efficacy and reading. Findings from random-effect multi-level modeling show that children in primary grades can differentiate between self-efficacy and self-concept, and it was task-specific self-efficacy tha1t significantly influenced reading achievement. Of the two possible mediators, student motivation significantly mediated the relationship between self-efficacy and reading achievement. Implications for the role of school social workers in enhancing achievement among young, vulnerable children are discussed.


Self-efficacy Reading achievement Self-concept 



Data collection was funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies. The authors would like to acknowledge the staff members at Mathematica Policy Research for data collection services and the New York, Boston, and Port Arthur Experience Corps® staff members for their cooperation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social WelfareIncheon National UniversityIncheonKorea
  2. 2.George Warren Brown School of Social WorkWashington University in St LouisSt. LouisUSA

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