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Psychology
Completed Project

SeApp: A Feasibility Study of a Self-Efficacy EMI in the Context of COVID-19

Annie Xu ’22, Mohtad F. Allawala ’23 and Professors Sue Trumbetta (Psychological Science), Adam Brown, and Maria Höhn (History)

The concept of self-efficacy (SE) refers to an individual’s belief in their ability to perform the necessary actions to manage particular situations and reflects confidence in the ability to exert control over one’s own motivation, behavior, and social environment (Bandura, 1977). Self-efficacy has become an increasingly important construct in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the virus has a direct impact on the body, its repercussions, including the extended period of self-isolation that has ensued, can negatively affect an individual's psychological wellbeing and everyday functioning. Perceived SE regulates stress and anxiety arousal both physiologically and cognitively. People with a higher level of SE take bolder actions dealing with problematic situations while maintaining a lower level of physiological activation (Bandura, Blanchard, & Ritter, 1969). Furthermore, Brown and colleagues (2012) discovered the benefits of SE interventions in reducing intrusive recollections of aversive events, which in turn assist post-traumatic recovery. The present research focused on introducing smartphone technology as an immediate site for scalable, low-cost psychological support. The SeApp induced participants’ SE by prompting recollection of mastery experience, which is one of the four tenets of SE according to Bandura’s theory. Mastery experiences refer to times when an individual takes on a challenge and succeeds. The study aims to test the app’s feasibility and to investigate how daily SE and motivation can be enhanced, and perceived stress can be reduced, through daily memory-based training via a one-week intervention through the smartphone app. We are also interested in exploring the impacts of this SE intervention in a multicultural context. By recruiting both domestic and international students, we expect to have a better understanding of how populations from different cultural backgrounds benefit from recalling memories of personal success.