Welcome to the Moxie OT Blog for professionals. This will be a space to support occupational therapy practitioners to provide excellent occupational therapy services. Here we will provide additional information to support your use of evidence based practice beyond the podcast. This will also be a space where we can discuss other topics impacting the profession at large and our own personal practice.

To open the blog I wanted to share with you my thoughts about self-efficacy theory and how it has influenced my own growth as a professional. Self-efficacy theory was developed by Albert Bandura in the late 1970’s. Self-efficacy theory states that a person is more likely to meet a goal if they believe they have the capacity to achieve that goal. The stronger the sense of self-efficacy, the bolder a person will be in taking on challenging activities (Bandura, 1994).

Self-efficacy theory describes four concepts that build self-efficacy. The first concept is performance accomplishments which describes performance outcomes or past experiences. Positive and negative experiences can influence the ability of an individual to perform a given task. If one has performed well at a task previously, he or she is more likely to feel competent and perform well at a similarly associated task (Bandura, 1977). Performance accomplishments are the most important source of self-efficacy.

The next concept is vicarious experiences. A person can develop high or low self-efficacy vicariously through other people’s performances. A person can watch someone who is similar to them and then compare their own competence with the other individual’s competence (Bandura, 1977). If a person sees someone similar to them succeed, it can increase their self-efficacy. However, the opposite is also true; seeing someone similar fail can lower self-efficacy.

Verbal persuasion describes verbally influencing people of their capabilities to master a task. It can be more difficult to instill high beliefs than to undermine beliefs using social persuasion.

Finally, emotional arousal describes how a person’s beliefs in their ability to cope with stressors will affect how much stress and depression they experience in difficult situations. This will also affect their motivation levels. Perceived self-efficacy to exercise control over stressors can play a central role in anxiety arousal.

I’m sure as you have been reading about these concepts you have thought of examples of how your or your client’s self-efficacy has been impacted through these tenets. As I have studied and taught self-efficacy I have reflected on how Bandura’s concepts have impacted my career trajectory.

After working as an occupational therapist for over 10 years I began exploring if going to graduate school would be the best next step for me. A trusted mentor advised me to talk with Dr. Piper Hansen who was currently working on her post-professional OTD. Seeing another occupational therapist who was working within the same organization that I did was an important vicarious experience that built my belief that I too could achieve my post professional OTD.

Vicarious experiences have continued to be highly influential in my career trajectory in the past few years. Watching former students and friends build their own private practices and other businesses made me think… maybe I can do that too!

In graduate school I can clearly remember an important example of verbal persuasion. When planning my OTD project one of my committee members encouraged me to go the extra mile to develop a strong project because she believed it was important work that would be publishable. After I completed my degree and struggled to publish my manuscript I returned to that conversation again and again. My committee’s confidence in me gave me the self-efficacy to keep trying. My third time was the charm and I finally published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy.

Knowing that performance accomplishments are the strongest way to build self-efficacy I can think of many examples of how achieving a goal has given me the confidence to reach toward the next. Presenting at conferences, completing interviews on the Moxie OT Podcast, supporting research and capstone students, as I reflect back on the past 20 years of my career I can see a clear trajectory of how each accomplishment has led to the next.

As I continue to grow and develop the Moxie OT Podcast I am often reflective of how self-efficacy theory impacts how we grow as professionals. My hope is that our interviews on the podcast provide our listeners with enough vicarious experiences and verbal persuasion to increase their moxie, have the confidence to try new things, and provide excellent occupational therapy services.


  • Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice-Hall.​
  • Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84(2), 191- 215. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.84.2.191​
  • Bandura, A. (1994). Self-efficacy. In V. S. Ramachaudran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human behavior (Vol. 4, pp. 71-81). New York: Academic Press. (Reprinted in H. Friedman [Ed.], Encyclopedia of mental health. San Diego: Academic Press, 1998).