Contrasting two models of academic self-efficacy – domain-specific versus cross-domain– in children receiving and not receiving special instruction in Mathematics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In social cognitive theory, self‐efficacy is domain‐specific. An alternative model, the cross‐domain influence model, would predict that self‐efficacy beliefs in one domain might influence performance in other domains. Research has also found that children who receive special instruction are not good at estimating their performance. The aim was to test two models of how self‐efficacy beliefs influence achievement, and to contrast children receiving special instruction in mathematics with normally‐achieving children. The participants were 73 fifth‐grade children who receive special instruction and 70 children who do not receive any special instruction. In year four and five, the children's skills in mathematics and reading were assessed by national curriculum tests, and in their fifth year, self‐efficacy in mathematics and reading were measured. Structural equation modeling showed that in domains where children do not receive special instruction in mathematics, self‐efficacy is a mediating variable between earlier and later achievement in the same domain. Achievement in mathematics was not mediated by self‐efficacy in mathematics for children who receive special instruction. For normal achieving children, earlier achievement in the language domain had an influence on later self‐efficacy in the mathematics domain, and self‐efficacy beliefs in different domains were correlated. Self‐efficacy is mostly domain specific, but may play a different role in academic performance depending on whether children receive special instruction. The results of the present study provided some support of the Cross‐Domain Influence Model for normal achieving children.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-447
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch