Use of our strengths invokes within us a sense of authenticity, vitality, invigoration, intrinsic motivation and yearning. However in order to have positive experiences and move closer towards self-actualisation we need to use them successfully. So how do we know when we are being effective?
The concept of perceived self-efficacy was first introduced by Bandura (1997) and is concerned with people’s perceived ability to master their “given attainments”. As one cannot be the master of all things, a self-efficacy scale cannot have a “one size fits all” approach.
He states that in order to create a valid measure “self-efficacy scales must be tailored to activity domains and assess the multifaceted ways in which efficacy beliefs operate within selected activity domain” (Bandura, 2006).
The Strengths Self-Efficacy Scale, introduced in this article, has been designed to do just that. It assesses someone’s perceived self-efficacy within the domain of building and applying their character strengths in daily life.
In order to stay aligned with Bandura’s Guide for Constructing Self-Efficacy Scales (PDF), the questions asked in the SSES account for all different environments where strengths self-efficacy could be experienced including work and educational contexts.
The Strengths Self Efficacy Scale
Created by Tsai et al. (2014) the SSES offers the opportunity to gain insight into individual self-efficacy with regards to strengths utilisation.
Research findings around the SESS show that its scores are positively correlated with life satisfaction and self-esteem, and high scores indicate high levels of strengths self-efficacy.
Strengths Based Assessment and Intervention
The SSES plays an important role as it brings together the positive experiences of strengths use as well as the many benefits of perceived self-efficacy.
According to Bandura (2006) self-efficacy influences how people think (pessimism vs optimism), what goals they choose, the effort and length of commitment they put into achieving them. It also plays a vital role in building resilience and coping in adversity.
The SSES can be used by practitioners, and clinicians in conjunction with strength based interventions to measure progress in perceived strengths use over time.
Strength based interventions such as Strength Based Therapy recognise the overarching importance of the subjective views of individual with regards to their well being and underlying pathology over expert diagnostics and opinions.
The SSES’s self report structure supports this key aspect by providing an opportunity for the development of knowledge and use of strengths with self concordance which are factors highly correlated to vitality and well being (Govindji & Linley, 2007).
In order to accurately complete the assessment, it is necessary for the individual to be aware of their 5 signature strengths. Take the VIA character strengths survey to find out yours.
The SSES offers the opportunity to not only solidify knowledge of strengths but it also clarifies the level of each individual’s self-efficacy in strengths use thus helping them invoke the resources needed to move closer towards their self-actualisation.
Bandura, A. (2007). Guide for Constructing Self-Efficacy Scales. Chapter 14, pg. 307-337. From Self-Efficacy Beliefs of Adolescents, Information Age Publishing.
Govindji, R., Linley, P. (2007). Strengths use, self-concordance and well-being: Implications for Strengths Coaching and Coaching Psychologists. International Coaching Psychology Review. 2(2); 143-144.
Tsai, C. L., Chaichanasakul, A., Zhao, R., Flores, L. Y., & Lopez, S. (2014). Development and Validation of the Strengths Self-Efficacy Scale (SSES). Journal of Career Assessment, 22, 221-232.
Wong J. Strengths-centered therapy: a social constructionist, virtue-based psychotherapy. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice and Training. 2006;43:133–146.