Research Paper: Self-Efficacy and Oppositional Defiant Disorder

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[. . .] Commonly, children who receive diagnoses of oppositional defiant disorder in preschool or early elementary school transition to a diagnosis of one of three major categories of disorder: depression, anxiety, or ADHD (Hamilton & Armando, 2008). Then, too, a goodly number of children do not develop co-existing conditions (Hamilton & Armando, 2008). Many children with oppositional defiant disorder continue to exhibit a stable pattern of the disorder as adults (Hamilton & Armando, 2008). In general, the more severe the oppositional defiant disorder is in childhood and the earlier symptoms were recognized or diagnosis occurred, the poorer the prognosis over the life-span (Hamilton & Armando, 2008).

The Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD is the most comprehensive study of children with a diagnosis of ADHD (Hamilton & Armando, 2008). The study found that 40% of the children identified as having ADHD were also found to meet the diagnostic criteria for oppositional defiant disorder even if they had not been diagnosed with the disorder (Hamilton & Armando, 2008). In general, children who have both disorders are associated with less positive outcomes (Hamilton & Armando, 2008). For instance, children with a dual diagnosis tend to have more persistent behavioral problems and exhibit more aggression, experience more peer rejection, and also show more severe academic underachievement (Hamilton & Armando, 2008). With regard to co-morbidity, one study found that children with oppositional defiant disorder were twice as likely than a reference group to have severe bipolar disorder or severe major depression (Hamilton & Armando, 2008). In a community-based study, the breakdown of co-morbid conditions with oppositional defiant disorder was 14% with ADHD, 14% with anxiety, and 9% with a depressive disorder (Hamilton & Armando, 2008). Although there is no hard data, experts generally agree that oppositional defiant disorder frequently occurs in conjunction with language disorders and learning disabilities (Hamilton & Armando, 2008).

Conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder. Many experts have considered oppositional defiant disorder to be a precursor and subset of conduct disorder, as children with conduct disorder nearly always have a history of having exhibited the symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder (Hamilton & Armando, 2008; Maughan, 2004). In fact, roughly 33% of the children with oppositional defiant disorder eventually develop conduct disorder, and 40% of the 33% will show symptoms of antisocial personality disorder when they reach adulthood (Hamilton & Armando, 2008; Maughan, 2004). Those children who have ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder as comorbid conditions are the most likely to develop conduct disorder (Hamilton & Armando, 2008; Maughan, 2004).

According to the DSM-IV criteria and stipulations, a child cannot be diagnosed with both conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder at the same time (Hamilton & Armando, 2008). When a child with oppositional defiant disorder exhibits behaviors severe enough to meet the criteria for conduct disorder (such as theft or destruction of property belonging to others, aggression toward others and toward animals, and a general disregard for the rights of other people), then the diagnosis of oppositional defiant disorder must be dropped in favor of the diagnosis of conduct disorder (Hamilton & Armando, 2008). Conceptualizations of the relation between conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder ranges from treating them as two completely distinct disorders to considering them both to on a continuum, differing primarily in terms of the severity of the disruptive problem behavior (Hamilton & Armando, 2008). Regardless, conduct disorder is considered as a more serious disorder and an unhappy and poor outcome for some children who were previously diagnosed as having oppositional defiant disorder (Hamilton & Armando, 2008).

The Self-Efficacy Bridge

A number of expectancy-related constructs are associated with and often confused with self-efficacy by laypersons (Zimmerman & Cleary, 2006). These expectancy-related constructs pertain to an individual's outcome expectations, locus of control, self-esteem, and self-concept (Zimmerman & Cleary, 2006). Each of these constructs is distinct though certainly they are related (Zimmerman & Cleary, 2006). To strengthen the understanding about self-efficacy for the purposes of this discussion, it is important to clarify how these constructs are alike and how they are different. The following section addresses a definitional and descriptive discussion of the expectancy-related constructs.

Self-concept. A more generalized and less context-specific assessment of the self, self-concept incorporates general beliefs about one's competence, intelligence, social abilities, talents, and feelings of self-worth. Here, self-efficacy differs in its reference to context with self-judgments based on personal ability to establish a direction or aim, to organize resources and energies, and to take action along that course in order to attain a specific objective or goal (Zimmerman & Cleary, 2006). It can be seen that where self-concept is a more global assessment of the self, the focus of self-efficacy is narrower and tacks specifically toward particular activities or tasks that an individual perceives as manageable in relation to their capacity (Zimmerman & Cleary, 2006). As a more global assessment, aspects of self-efficacy can be found in self-concept, along with measures pertaining to self-esteem and a holistic sense of competence constructed by the self (Zimmerman & Cleary, 2006). Pajares and Miller (1994) found that academic performance is enhanced directly by a belief in self-efficacy, and indirectly thorough its action on self-concept.

Self-esteem. An affective reaction about how one feels about their own self, self-esteem is a judgment of self-worth (Zimmerman & Cleary, 2006). Self-esteem differs from self-efficacy as the one is an affective response and the other is a cognitive judgment about personal capabilities (Pintrich & Schunk, 2002). Self-concept -- as the global perception of the self -- can contribute to self-esteem, but so can any number of other attributes that are variously considered of value or not by society (Bandura, 1997). Mone, Baker, and Jeffries (1995) studied self-esteem and self-efficacy with regard to the validity of the constructs for predicting the performance and goal attainment of college students. Almost half of the variance in the prediction of goal attainment was accounted for by self-efficacy, and up to 14% of the variance in the prediction of academic performance was accounted for by self-efficacy, while self-esteem was not predictive of either goal attainment or academic performance. The work of Mone, et al. (1995) informs the literature on self-efficacy as a predictor of academic outcomes, and makes salient the idea that as task-specificity increases, the predictive ability of self-perception measures also increases.

Outcome expectations. Beliefs about self-efficacy have been shown to be more predictive of the behavior of individuals than outcome expectations (Schunk & Miller, 2002). Regardless, outcome expectations are important to the understanding of behavior (Bandura, 1997). Shell, Murphy, and Bruning (1989) explored the relative predictive power of outcome expectations and self-efficacy on achievement in reading and writing. In this study by Shell, et al. (1989) outcome expectations were associated with social endeavors, family life, education, and employment, while self-efficacy was measured by the perceptions held by students regarding their abilities to perform writing and reading tasks. Self-efficacy accounted for 25% of the variance in reading achievement while outcome expectations accounted for only 4% of the variability (Shell, et al., 1989).

Perceived control. The work of Rotter (1966) on locus of control forms the basis for the research on the construct of perceived control, which holds that personal outcomes are the result of one's own behavior or external events (Zimmerman & Cleary, 2006). An internal locus of control is seen as fostering self-directed behavior while an external locus of control tends to act as an inhibitor on the skills and abilities associated with personal agency (Zimmerman & Cleary, 2006). People with higher levels of self-efficacy and a perceived internal locus of control tend to exhibit more self-directed behaviors than people with lower levels of self-efficacy and a perceived external locus of control (Zimmerman & Cleary, 2006). However, perceived control does not necessarily factor in levels of confidence about performing certain tasks and activities in particular contexts and, as Bandura suggested (1986, 1997), there may be very little value in de-contextualizing people's perceptions of control. Smith (1989) reported that locus of control has no predictive value for improvement in academic performance, nor did it contribute to a reduction in anxiety levels of student who had been engaged in training for coping skills. However, self-efficacy did demonstrate predictive value in the improvement of academic performance, and this capacity is attributed largely to the focus of self-efficacy beliefs on task-specific and context-specific performance and the relation to an individual's perceptions about their capability (Smith, 1989).

Zimmerman and Cleary (2006) assert that the perceptions adolescents have of their efficacy has a substantive influence on their transition to adulthood. The literature on ecological contexts in which the beliefs adolescents hold about their self-efficacy are challenged has illustrated the complexity of the development of these beliefs (Zimmerman & Cleary, 2006). Self-efficacy beliefs are shaped by a dynamic and complex mesh of interconnected forces that exhibit a dyadic nature -- these beliefs are both the cause and the effect of adolescent functioning (Zimmerman & Cleary, 2006). An adolescent's beliefs about his social and intellectual abilities impact his expression of these beliefs in the form of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Self-Efficacy and Oppositional Defiant Disorder.  (2012, April 27).  Retrieved August 25, 2019, from

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"Self-Efficacy and Oppositional Defiant Disorder."  27 April 2012.  Web.  25 August 2019. <>.

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"Self-Efficacy and Oppositional Defiant Disorder."  April 27, 2012.  Accessed August 25, 2019.