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Schwarzer & Knoll (2007). Functional roles of social support.


 Ziegelmann, J. P., Luszczynska, A., Lippke, S., & Schwarzer, R. (2006). Are goal intentions or implementation intentions better predictors of health behavior? A longitudinal study in orthopedic rehabilitation. Rehabilitation Psychology.

Objective: To compare the predictive power of goal intentions and implementation intentions. Design: Both constructs were specified to explain physical exercise at three points in time (with follow-ups at 6 and 12 months) in a sample of 368 persons participating in orthopedic rehabilitation. Results: Goal intentions and implementation intentions predicted exercise during rehabilitation. In contrast, goal intentions failed to predict exercise at later points in time, whereas implementation intentions continued to be associated with exercise 12 months later. Conclusions: Implementation intentions rather than goal intentions predict behavior, as it becomes routine. As automatic processes such as behavior elicited by planning are largely age-invariant, strengthening those processes might help to overcome volitional problems across all age groups represented in rehabilitation settings.

Ziegelmann, J. P., Lippke, S., & Schwarzer, R. (2006). Subjective residual life expectancy in health self-regulation. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 61, xx-xx.

Applying socioemotional selectivity theory to the domain of health, we examined the interplay of social-cognitive predictors of physical exercise in two groups of people who perceived their remaining lifetime as either expansive or limited (based on subjective longevity ratings). Individuals (N = 370) who were prescribed physical exercise were assessed at discharge from orthopedic rehabilitation as well as 6 and 12 months later. Multigroup structural equation modeling showed differences in latent means, interrelations of predictors, and amount of explained variance. Individuals who perceived their time as limited reported a less favorable profile on social-cognitive variables and less exercise goal attainment. We give first insights on how health self-regulation differs in these groups, and we discuss avenues for intervention based on socioemotional selectivity theory. In contrast to chronological age, subjective life expectancy can be targeted by intervention.

Ziegelmann, J. P., Lippke, S., & Schwarzer, R. (2006). Adoption and maintenance of physical activity: Planning interventions in young, middle-aged, and older adults. Psychology & Health, 21, 145-163.

Young, middle-aged, and older adults in orthopaedic outpatient rehabilitation (N = 373) were randomly assigned to either an interviewer-assisted or a standard-care self-administered planning intervention. Physical activity planning consisted of specifying action plans to facilitate action initiation, and coping plans to overcome barriers. The interviewer-assisted condition led to more complete action plans and a longer duration of physical activities up to six months after discharge. Regarding coping planning, older and middle-aged adults benefited more from interviewer-assisted planning while younger adults benefited more from self-administered planning. Planning as such was found to be an effective tool for enactment irrespective of chronological age. The delayed effect of coping planning on enactment suggests that coping planning is important for long-term maintenance.

Schwarzer, R., Luszczynska, A., Mohamed, N. E., Boehmer, S., Taubert, S., & Knoll, N. (2006). Change in benefit finding after cancer surgery predicts well-being one year later. Social Science and Medicine.

Critical life events, such as cancer surgery, may result in finding some benefit in one’s fate. In a longitudinal study (presurgery, 1 month and 12 months postsurgery) with 117 patients (73 men, 44 women), we addressed three questions: (1) Do patients report benefit finding? (2) Are changes in benefit finding related to patients’ well-being? (3) Is social support associated with level or change of benefit finding? Although benefit finding increased over one year, change was substantial only for those who started off at a low level. Well-being was not associated with benefit finding at any point in time. However, changes in benefit finding predicted subsequent well-being. Received support was associated with benefit finding. Changes in benefit finding as well as initial support emerged as joint predictors of well-being.

Diehl, M., Semegon, A. B., & Schwarzer, R. (in press). Assessing attention control in goal pursuit: A component of dispositional self-regulation. Journal of Personality Assessment.

The psychometric properties of the Self-Regulation Scale (SRS; Schwarzer, Diehl, & Schmitz, 1999), a measure of attention control in goal pursuit, were examined in two independent studies.  Study 1 included young adults (N = 443), whereas Study 2 included young, middle-aged, and older adults (N = 330).  In both studies, the SRS showed good internal consistency. In Study 1, the SRS also showed satisfactory test-retest reliability over a 6-week period.  Support for the criterion validity of the SRS was found in terms of positive correlations with measures of proactive coping, self-efficacy, and positive affect, and in terms of negative correlations with neuroticism, negative affect, and depressive symptoms.  Hierarchical regression analyses showed that attention control accounted for unique portions of variance in relevant outcome variables above and beyond the big five personality factors and general self-efficacy.  This suggests that attention control, as assessed by the SRS, is distinct from personality traits and has unique predictive validity.

Scholz, U., Knoll, N., Sniehotta, F. F., & Schwarzer, R. (in press). Physical activity and depressive symptoms in cardiac rehabilitation: Long-term effects of a self-management intervention. Social Science and Medicine.

Long-term effects of a self-management intervention on physical activity and depressive symptoms were studied in 198 men and women after cardiac rehabilitation. About half of them received a brief self-regulatory skills training that focussed on exercise planning strategies. Effects were evaluated four and twelve months later. Physical exercise levels at both points in time were half a standard deviation higher in the intervention group than in the control group, and depressive symptoms were lower. To study the potential mechanism that caused the reduction in depression, mediation analyses were performed. The intervention group reported higher levels of exercise goal attainment which, in turn, predicted lower depression. Perceived goal attainment has emerged as a mediator between the self-regulatory skills training and the improvement of depressive symptoms. It is concluded that the attainment of personal goals are of particular importance for the well-being of persons during health behavior change, and self-management strategies to help patients attain their goals should be part of rehabilitation programs.

Knoll, N., Schulz, U., Schwarzer, R., & Rosemeier, H. P. (in press). Provider's appraisal detection bias and the efficacy of received support in medical students preparing for an exam. British Journal of Social Psychology.

Matching social support to the recipient's needs requires diagnostic sensitivity on the part of the provider. In particular, support needs to be responsive to the recipient's stress-related appraisals to be maximally effective. To assess the impact of bias in interpersonal stress assessment, medical students in 43 dyads reported on their own and each other's stress appraisals, social support, affect, and performance during a 5-day preparation period culminating in a multiple choice examination. Less biased perceptions of loss appraisals by support providers within dyads were followed by support transactions associated with lower negative affect and better exam performance among recipients. More biased perceptions of threat appraisals were followed by increases in recipients' negative affect. Results therefore suggest that support is more effective when the provider understands the recipient's concerns.

Sniehotta, F. F., Nagy, G., Scholz, U., & Schwarzer, R. (2006). The role of action control in implementing intentions during the first weeks of behaviour change. British Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 87-106.

Prevailing social cognition models consider behavioural intentions as immediate precursors of actions. This view ignores the role of more proximal self-regulatory processes, such as action control. The latter emerges after an intention has been formed and is supposed to maintain the level of intentions over time and to translate them into action. Three facets of action control were examined in terms of their predictive power for changes in intentions and physical exercise: (a) awareness of standards, (b) self-monitoring, and (c) self-regulatory effort. A parsimonious 6-item instrument was administered to 122 cardiac patients at six weekly measurement points in time following rehabilitation. A distinction was made between the level of action control and the degree of change in action control, applying a latent growth model. While awareness of standards remained stable, the other two facets exhibited a linear change over the six-week period. Level and change were distinct predictors of changes in intentions and behaviours. These findings emphasise the importance of self-regulatory mechanisms in the first weeks of trying to overcome a sedentary lifestyle. Action control may be a promising construct to narrow the intention-behaviour gap.

Sniehotta, F. F., Scholz, U., & Schwarzer, R. (2006). Action planning and coping planning for physical exercise: A longitudinal intervention study in cardiac rehabilitation. British Journal of Health Psychology, 11, 23-37.

Objectives. The aim of the present study was to test two brief planning interventions designed to encourage cardiac patients to engage in regular physical exercise following discharge from rehabilitation. The interventions comprised of action plans on 1) when, where and how to act and 2) coping plans on how to deal with anticipated barriers. Design and method. An experimental longitudinal trial was conducted to test two interventions that either focused on action planning alone, or on a combination of action planning and coping planning. Two hundred eleven participants completed assessments at baseline and two months after discharge. Participants were randomly assigned to either one of the intervention groups or a standard-care control group. Results. Participants in the combined planning group did significantly more physical exercise two months post discharge than those in the other groups. Conclusions. The theoretical distinction between action planning and coping planning as introduced in the present study has proven useful in explaining changes in health-related behaviour. The combined planning intervention can be applied in the context of cardiac rehabilitation programmes.

Schwarzer, R., & Gutiérrez-Doña, B. (2005). More spousal support for men than for women: A comparison of sources and types of support. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 52, 523-532.

Types and sources of received support among 902 Costa Rican employees are examined; gender and age differences as well as associations with mental health were considered. Four types of support (advice giving, assistance, reassurance, and empathic listening) were measured as received from four sources, namely friends, family, spouses, and groups/organizations. Support types were not very distinct, therefore we aggregated sum scores across these variables. In contrast, sources were discriminant and had to be analyzed separately. An interaction between gender and age pointed to a larger discrepancy of received spousal support in middle-aged men and women than in younger ones. The older the women were, the less support they received from their spouses. In addition to this interaction, further gender differences emerged at the correlation level, where the association between spousal support and depression was significant for men only.

Knoll, N., Rieckmann, N., & Schwarzer, R. (2005). Coping as a mediator between personality and stress outcomes: A longitudinal study with cataract surgery patients. European Journal of Personality, 19, 229-247.

Personality and coping were specified as predictors of emotional outcomes of a mildly stressful medical procedure. Situation-specific coping was examined in contrast to dispositional coping whether one or the other would mediate the relationship between higher-order personality factors and stress outcomes. Cataract patients (N = 110) participated at 4 measurement points in time during a 6-week period surrounding their scheduled surgery. In most instances, dispositionally-assessed coping no longer accounted for independent variance of outcomes once personality traits were controlled. In contrast, situation-specific coping acquired a mediator status between personality and adaptational criteria. Thus, the data suggest that s the status of coping as a mediator between personality factors and affective outcomes may be related to the methodological approaches of its operationalization.

Luszczynska, A., Mohamed, N. E., & Schwarzer, R. (2005). Self-efficacy and social support predict benefit finding 12 months after cancer surgery: The mediating role of coping strategies. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 10, 365-375.

This longitudinal study investigates whether finding benefits in cancer can be predicted by assimilative and accommodative coping strategies, general self-efficacy, and received social support. Self-efficacy and social support were measured 1 month after cancer surgery, coping strategies 6 months after surgery, and benefit finding 12 months after surgery. Ninety-seven patients with cancer completed measures of benefit finding and its predictors. Four dimensions of benefit were distinguished: personal growth, acceptance of life imperfection, sensitivity to others, and improved family relationships. Path analyses revealed that self-efficacy beliefs had direct effects on personal growth, acceptance of life imperfection, and increased sensitivity to others, whereas received social support affected improved family relationships. Effects of social support were unmediated. The effects of self-efficacy on acceptance of life imperfection were mediated by accommodative coping strategies, but the effects of self-efficacy on personal growth and increased sensitivity to others were mediated by assimilative coping strategies. Resources and coping strategies predicted specific dimensions of benefit finding.

Luszczynska, A., Scholz, U., & Schwarzer, R. (2005). The general self-efficacy scale: Multicultural validation studies. The Journal of Psychology, 139(5), 439-457.

General self-efficacy is the belief in one’s competence to cope with a broad range of stressful or challenging demands, whereas specific self-efficacy is constrained to a particular task at hand. Relations between general self-efficacy and social cognitive variables (intention, implementation intentions, outcome expectancies, and self-regulation), behavior-specific self-efficacy, health behaviors, well-being, and coping strategies were examined among 1,935 respondents in three countries: Germany (n = 650), Poland (n = 344), and Korea (n = 941). Participants were between 16 and 86 years old, and some were dealing with stressful situations such as recovery from myocardial events or tumor surgery. Perceived self-efficacy was measured by means of the General Self-Efficacy Scale. Meta-analysis was used to determine population effect sizes for four sets of variables. Across countries and samples, there is consistent evidence for associations between perceived self-efficacy and the variables under study, confirming the validity of the psychometric scale. General self-efficacy appears to be a universal construct that yields meaningful relations with other psychological constructs.

Luszczynska, A., & Schwarzer, R. (2005). Multidimensional health locus of control: Comments on the construct and its measurement. Journal of Health Psychology, 10(5), 633-642.

In the present commentary, the theoretical construct of Multidimensional Health Locus of Control (MHLC) is described and evaluated in terms of its contributions to health psychology. This concept is compared to other control beliefs, in particular to perceived self-efficacy. It is argued that MHLC has supplied health psychology with essential insights and has offered a great deal of intellectual stimulation. Nevertheless, for some applications, different constructs might be more promising, in particular when it comes to predicting health behavior change. MHLC measurement, specifically its factorial structure, its proximity to health outcomes and health behaviors, and its cultural sensitivity are addressed. Further refinement of the instrument is recommended, and the range of promising applications needs to be clearly defined.

Schroder, K. E. E., & Schwarzer, R. (2005). Habitual self-control and the management of health behavior among heart patients. Social Science and Medicine, 60(4), 859-875.

This study examined the predictive power of habitual self-control on health behaviors among 381 heart surgery patients. Habitual self-control and other trait predictors (dispositional optimism, generalized self-efficacy beliefs, health locus of control beliefs) were assessed before and six months after surgery. Social-cognitive predictors of health behavior (behavior-specific self-efficacy and outcome beliefs, intentions) were assessed only before surgery. Outcomes were dieting, physical exercise, and smoker status before and after surgery. Compared to other trait variables, habitual self-control emerged as a superior predictor of the behavioral outcomes. Further, habitual self-control explained unique variance in dieting and physical exercise beyond proximal behavior-specific predictors (i.e., self-efficacy beliefs, intentions) that are supposed to display direct effects on behavior. Results of hierarchical linear regressions provided partial support for the assumption that habitual self-control strengthens the intention-behavior congruence. In prospective analyses predicting dieting at the 6-month follow-up, an interaction between habitual self-control and dieting intentions emerged indicating that self-control supported dieting among patients with imperfect (moderate) dieting intentions only. In sum, the results suggest that habitual self-control may be a useful construct in research on health behavior management, in particular when long-term maintenance of health behavior is the target.

Scholz, U., Sniehotta, F. F., & Schwarzer, R. (2005). Predicting physical exercise in cardiac rehabilitation: The role of phase-specific self-efficacy beliefs. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 27, 135-151.

During the process of health-behavior change, persons pass different phases characterized by different demands and challenges that have to be mastered. To overcome these demands successfully, phase-specific self-efficacy beliefs are important. The present study distinguishes between task self-efficacy, maintenance self-efficacy, and recovery self-efficacy. These phase-specific beliefs were studied in a sample of 484 cardiac patients during rehabilitation treatment and at follow-up 2 and 4 months after discharge to predict physical exercise at 4 and 12 months follow-up. The three phase-specific self-efficacies showed sufficient discriminant validity and allowed for differential predictions of intentions and behavior. Persons in the maintenance phase benefited more from maintenance self-efficacy in terms of physical exercise than persons not in the maintenance phase. Those who had to resume their physical exercise after a health-related break, profited more from recovery self-efficacy in terms of physical exercise than persons who were active continuously. Implications for possible interventions are discussed.

Schwarzer, R., Boehmer, S., Luszczynska, A., Mohamed, N., & Knoll, N. (2005). Dispositional self-efficacy as a personal resource factor in coping after surgery. Personality and Individual Differences, 39, 807-818.

Perceived general self-efficacy may serve as a dispositional coping resource factor in times of stress. Over a time period of 11 months, self-efficacy was studied as a predictor of four coping strategies: Planning, humor, acceptance, and accommodation. Participants were 130 men and women who had undergone tumor surgery. They provided data at one, six and 12 months after surgery. In the context of this stress episode, coping turned out to vary in terms of general self-efficacy levels and in terms of time. Planning, humor, acceptance, and accommodation were substantially associated with general self-efficacy, and time-lagged correlations suggested an antecedent role of general self-efficacy as a personal resource factor. Cross-lagged panel correlations with latent variables confirmed the hypothesized sequence of the two sets of variables.  --> Full paper

Sniehotta, F. F., Scholz, U., & Schwarzer, R. (2005). Bridging the intention-behaviour gap: Planning, self-efficacy, and action control in the adoption and maintenance of physical exercise. Psychology & Health, 20(2), 143-160.

Although some people may have developed an intention to change their health behaviours, they might take no action. This discrepancy has been labelled the “intention-behaviour gap.” Detailed action planning, perceived self-efficacy, and self-regulatory strategies (action control) may mediate between intentions and behaviours. This has been examined in a longitudinal sample of 307 cardiac rehabilitation patients who were encouraged to adopt or maintain regular physical exercise. At the first point in time, predictors of intention and the intention itself were assessed. Two months and four months later, mediators and outcomes were measured. Results confirmed that all three factors (planning, self-efficacy, and action control) served to mediate between earlier exercise intentions and later physical activity, each of them making a unique contribution. Moreover, the role of past behaviour was explored.

Sniehotta, F. F., Scholz, U., Schwarzer, R., Fuhrmann, B., Kiwus, U., & Völler, H. (2005). Long-term effects of two psychological interventions on physical exercise and self-regulation following coronary rehabilitation. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 12(4), 244-255.

In cardiac rehabilitation programs, patients learn how to adopt a healthier lifestyle, including regular, strenuous physical activity. Long-term success is only modest in spite of good intentions. To improve exercise adherence, a three-group experiment was designed that included innovative psychological interventions. All three groups underwent a standard care rehabilitation program. Patients in the two treatment groups were instructed not only to produce detailed action plans, but also to develop barrier-focused mental strategies. On top of this, in one of these groups a weekly diary was kept for six weeks to increase a sense of action control. At the end of a standard cardiac rehabilitation program, 240 patients were randomly assigned to these three treatment groups plus to a standard care control group. Treatments resulted in more physical activity at follow-up and better adherence to recommended levels of exercise intensity. Moreover, self-regulatory skills, such as planning and action control, were improved by the treatments. Follow-up analyses demonstrated the mediating mechanisms of self-regulatory skills in the process of physical exercise maintenance. Findings imply that interventions targeting self-regulatory skills can enable post-rehabilitation patients to reduce behavioral risk factors and facilitate intended life-style changes.

Sniehotta, F. F., Schwarzer, R., Scholz, U., & Schüz, B. (2005). Action planning and coping planning for long-term lifestyle change: Theory and assessment. European Journal of Social Psychology, 35, 565-576.

Planning is regarded as highly valuable in the process of health behaviour change. It bridges the gap between behavioural intentions and health behaviour. To further develop this concept, a distinction is made between action planning and coping planning. The latter refers to the mental simulation of overcoming anticipated barriers to action. Action planning and coping planning for physical exercise were examined in a longitudinal study with 352 cardiac patients. They were approached during rehabilitation treatment and followed up two and four months after discharge. Both planning cognitions were psychometrically identified, and it was found that they operated differently in the behavioural change process. Action plans were more influential at an earlier point, whereas coping plans were more instrumental later on. Participants with higher levels of coping planning after discharge were more likely to report higher levels of exercise four months after discharge. It is suggested to include both kinds of planning interventions at different stages in health behaviour change.

Lippke, S., Ziegelmann, J. P., & Schwarzer, R. (2005). Stage-specific adoption and maintenance of physical activity: Testing a three-stage model. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 6, 585-603.

A parsimonious three-stage model of health behavior change was examined that made a distinction between non-intenders, intenders, and actors in terms of physical activity. It was hypothesized that intention formation, action planning, and behavior change were at different levels in these three stages, and that these were differentially predicted by self-efficacy, outcome expectancies, and risk awareness. To examine this discontinuity hypothesis, 423 orthopedic out-patients were assessed at the beginning and the end of their rehabilitation as well as at six-month follow-up. In multi-group structural equation models, discontinuity patterns emerged. Differences in latent means, interrelations of social-cognitive predictors, and the amount of explained variance were found between the three stages. Self-efficacy was imperative for all groups of patients. Risk awareness was important intention formation only for individuals who had no intention before. The intentional and the actional stages of behavior change were similar in terms of planning. The findings provided support for the usefulness of the three-stage distinction, and the stage-specific prediction of behavior change.

Renner, B., & Schwarzer, R. (2005). Nutritional intentions as a mediator or moderator: Differences between intenders and non-intenders in terms of diet and social-cognitive variables. Polish Psychological Bulletin , 36(1), 7-15.

According to health behavior theories, health behaviors are governed by intentions and by health beliefs, such as risk perception, outcome expectancies, and optimistic self-beliefs. The present study deals with the role that these four factors play when it comes to adopting or maintaining a healthy diet. Moreover, objective data, such as age, sex, body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, were considered. In a sample of 1,782 men and women between 14 and 87 years of age, it was found that risk perception was more closely related to the objective data than to social-cognitive variables and self-reported behaviors. The intention to adhere to a healthier diet served as a mediator between self-efficacy, outcome expectancies, and risk perception on the one hand, and nutrition on the other. In addition, intention was specified as a moderator, making a distinction between non-intenders and intenders. It turned out that these two groups were distinct in terms of most other variables involved, and that they were differently motivated to eat healthy foods.

Luszczynska, A., Gutiérrez-Doña, B., & Schwarzer, R. (2005). General self-efficacy in various domains of human functioning: evidence from five countries. International Journal of Psychology,, 40(2), 80-89.

Based on social-cognitive theory (Bandura, 1997), it is examined whether perceived self-efficacy is a universal psychological construct that accounts for variance within various domains of human functioning. In the present study an assumption was made that self-efficacy is not only of a task-specific nature but it can also be identified at a more general level of functioning. General self-efficacy is the belief in one’s competence to tackle novel tasks and to cope with adversity in a broad range of stressful or challenging encounters, as opposed to specific self-efficacy that is constrained to a particular task at hand. The study aimed at exploring the relations between general self-efficacy and a variety of other psychological constructs across the countries. Relations between general self-efficacy and personality, well-being, stress appraisals, social relations, and achievements were examined among 8,796 participants (aged 14 to 77) from Costa Rica, Germany, Poland, Turkey, and the USA.  Self-efficacy was measured by means of the General Self-Efficacy Scale Across the countries, the findings provide evidence for associations between perceived general self-efficacy and the selected variables. The highest positive associations were found for general self-efficacy and optimism, self-regulation and self-esteem, whereas the highest negative associations emerged with depression and anxiety. Academic performance, job satisfaction, and stress appraisals (challenge) were also associated with self-efficacy as hypothesized. The replication across languages or cultures adds significance to these findings. The relations between self-efficacy and other personality measures remained stable across cultures and samples. Thus, perceived general self-efficacy appears to be a universal construct that yields meaningful relations with other psychological constructs.   -->  FULL PAPER

Knoll, N., Rieckmann, N., Scholz, U., & Schwarzer, R. (2004). Predictors of subjective age before and after cataract surgery: Conscientiousness makes a difference. Psychology and Aging, 19, 676-688.

This study contributes to research on subjective age by examining the interplay of felt age with health, functional limitations, and personality. Individuals undergoing cataract surgery (N = 134; 38 to 92 years of age) provided data for an assessment period of six weeks surrounding their scheduled surgery. Conscientiousness and repeated measurements of health indicators, functional limitations, and felt age were included in the analyses. Results indicated that functional limitations may be more important to the construction of felt age than their underlying health-related causes. Moreover, conscientious participants felt younger before and after surgery. Their functional status was less dependent on health than the functional status of less conscientious participants. This moderator effect is discussed along with health-related pathways leading to felt age.

Lippke, S., Ziegelmann, J. P., & Schwarzer, R. (2004). Behavioral intentions and action plans promote physical exercise: A longitudinal study with orthopedic rehabilitation patients. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 26, 470-483.

Patients in rehabilitation settings often face difficulties in complying with physical exercise regimens. To examine social-cognitive determinants in the adoption and maintenance of exercise, a study with four points in time was launched, scrutinizing beliefs and behaviors of 509 orthopedic patients. Although exercise levels increased over time, a sizable number of patients remained inactive. Perceived self-efficacy and outcome expectancies predicted levels of intention and action plans. The latter two, in turn, were proximal predictors of subsequent exercise. In light of the findings, it is argued that planning helps to bridge the intention/behavior gap. Planning is an alterable variable and is therefore suitable for effective intervention.

Lippke, S., Ziegelmann, J. P., & Schwarzer, R. (2004). Initiation and maintenance of physical exercise: Stage-specific effects of a planning intervention. Research in Sports Medicine, 12, 221–240.

Achieving a recommended level of physical exercise is a difficult self-regulatory task for many patients in rehabilitation. Psychological interventions are designed to improve initiation and maintenance of exercise. A challenging research question is whether such interventions can be tailored to the special needs of patients at different stages of behavioral change. In particular, this paper investigates whether action planning is beneficial for those patients who have the intention to exercise but do not perform physical activities at the recommended level. In a longitudinal (4 waves) study with 560 rehabilitation patients, a planning intervention was evaluated. Action plans and exercise behaviors were higher in the experimental planning group than in the no-treatment control group. Patients with the intention to exercise but who have been inactive, particularly benefited from the planning intervention than patients without the intention to act, or patients who have been active before. The results suggest that matching treatments to people in a particular stage, is a promising procedure. Moreover, if patients formed intentions and action plans, they were more likely to adhere to the recommended level of exercise.

Luszczynska, A., Diehl, M., Gutiérrez Doña, B., Kuusinen, P., & Schwarzer, R. (2004). Measuring one component of dispositional self-regulation: Attention control in goal pursuit . Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, 37, 555-566.

Self-regulation can be considered a dispositional variable that may be responsible for self-regulatory actions in a broad range of situations. Attention control is a key component of self-regulation when individuals pursue their goals in face of barriers and setbacks. The seven-item Self-Regulation Scale (SRS), designed to measure this component, has been developed in five languages. The psychometric properties of this instrument are examined, including 2297 participants from Costa Rica, Finland, Germany, Poland, and the US. The research question was whether the measure is reliable and valid within and across countries. The findings support this assumption, suggesting that the scale is internally consistent and stable and that it taps a unidimensional construct. Moreover, the criterion-related validity of the scale was examined by using criteria such as self-efficacy, coping, and negative affect, within and across countries.


Schulz, U., & Schwarzer, R. (2004). Long-term effects of spousal support on coping with cancer after surgery. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 35(5), 716-732.

The possible influence of spousal support on patient characteristics is examined within a longitudinal research design to assess coping and adjustment of 108 patients after tumor surgery. Spouses are regarded as key sources within the patients’ support networks. Their extension of emotional, instrumental, and informational support may improve coping attempts, such as accommodation, downward comparison, fighting spirit, or search for meaning. The analysis was performed in a time-lagged fashion, with spousal support reported one month after surgery, and patient variables reported six months after surgery. Received support and coping were associated with earlier spousal support, but this partner effect emerged only for the subsample of dyads with female patients and male partners. Results are discussed with respect to gender differences and recent advances in the field of dyadic coping.

Schulz, U., & Schwarzer, R. (2003). Soziale Unterstützung bei der Krankheitsbewältigung: Die Berliner Social Support Skalen (BSSS) [Social support and coping with illness: The Berlin Social Support Scales [BSSS]). Diagnostica, 49(2), 73-82.

The multidimensional approach of measuring social support is a unique feature that distinguishes the Berlin Social Support Scales (BSSS; Schwarzer & Schulz, 2000) from other questionnaires. The inventory comprises 6 measures of cognitive as well as behavioral aspects of social support (perceived, actually received and actually provided support, need for support, support seeking, protective buffering). For the present study, a sample of 457 cancer patients was observed several times before and after tumor-related surgery. In this study, the psychometric properties of the inventory were satisfactory. Further, evidence for the scales’ validity is provided. For example, patients’ received social support was predicted by partners’ provision of social support. The complete inventory is available at:

Renner, B., & Schwarzer, R. (2003). Risikostereotype, Risikowahrnehmung und Risikoverhalten im Zusammenhang mit HIV [Risk stereotypes, perceptions, and behavior in relation to HIV]. Zeitschrift für Gesundheitspsychologie, 11(3), 112-121.

Most individuals believe that they are less likely than their peers to suffer harm such as contracting HIV; a phenomenon known as “optimistic bias”. Several studies suggest that people may come to the conclusion that they are less at risk than others by comparing themselves with a typical at risk person (high-risk stereotype). The present study extends this line of research by also assessing the opposite case, i.e., comparisons with a person who is at low-risk (low-risk stereotype). Participants’ (N = 64) risk behaviors, personality attributes, and their perceived relevance for an HIV-infection were assessed. In addition, participants were asked for their comparative HIV-risk perception and how they perceive individuals who are at high-risk as opposed to those who are at low-risk. The results show a moderate relationship between risk behaviors and HIV-risk perception, and no relation between the high-risk stereotype and HIV-risk perception. In contrast, the low-risk stereotype showed a unique prediction of risk perceptions. The less similar participants were to the low-risk stereotype, the more they felt at risk. Additionally, cognitive constructions of the low-risk stereotype provided evidence for the existence of a self-serving bias. These findings indicate that future risk communication strategies may benefit from taking into account both high- and low-risk stereotypes.

Satow, L., & Schwarzer, R. (2003). Entwicklung schulischer und sozialer Selbstwirksamkeitserwartung. Eine Analyse individueller Wachstumskurven [Development of perceived self efficacy in academic and social domains. An analysis of individual growth curves]. Psychologie in Erziehung und Unterricht, 50(2), 168-181.

Optimistic self-beliefs of being capable to master difficult demands in school represent a prerequisite for motivated learning. A corresponding research question is how domain-specific self-efficacy of students develops during puberty. A longitudinal study was designed with three measurement points in time with a one-year distance between each wave. A total of 921 students attending grades 7 or 8 at the beginning constituted the sample. Social and academic self-efficacy were measured separately. Within a multi-level model it was found that both kinds of self-efficacy develop differently over the years, depending on gender and classroom climate. The individually perceived climate appeared to be more important than the classroom aggregates of the climate. This study is also seen as methodological contribution to the debate on measurement of change of student characteristics.

Luszczynska, A., & Schwarzer, R. (2003). Planning and self-efficacy in the adoption and maintenance of breast self-examination: A longitudinal study on self-regulatory cognitions. Psychology & Health, 18, 93-198.

Many women may be reluctant to perform breast self-examination (B.S.E.) regularly due to motivational or self-regulatory deficits. The Health Action Process Approach (Schwarzer, 1992, 2001), a health behavior change model that advocates the separation of motivation and action phases, such as goal setting and goal pursuit, was applied to data from 418 young women whose risk perceptions, outcome expectancies, self-efficacy, intention to perform B.S.E., planning, and reported examination behaviors were examined at two points in time. Risk perception was found to have a negligible influence in a path analysis, whereas self-efficacy emerged as the best predictor of intention and planning. Planning, in turn, appeared to be the best predictor of B.S.E. behaviors, followed by self-efficacy. The results point to the influential role that self-regulatory strategies (such as planning) play in translating goals into action. The study contributes to the current debate on stage theories of health behavior change and the orchestration of self-beliefs and strategies in the context of goal-directed behaviors.

Scholz, U., Gutiérrez-Doña, B., Sud, S., & Schwarzer, R. (2002). Is general self-efficacy a universal construct? Psychometric findings from 25 countries. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 18(3), 242-251.

Perceived self-efficacy represents an optimistic sense of personal competence that seems to be a pervasive phenomenon accounting for motivation and accomplishments in all human beings. To measure this construct at the broadest level, the General Self-Efficacy scale was developed, and it has been adapted to many languages. The psychometric properties of this instrument is examined, including 19,120 participants in 25 countries. The main question is whether the measure is configurally equivalent across cultures, that is, if it corresponds to only one dimension. The findings confirm this assumption and underscore the universality of the underlying construct as well. Findings also point to a number of cross-cultural differences that merit further investigation.

Schröder, K. E. E., & Schwarzer, R. (2001). Do partners' personality resources add to the prediction of patients' coping and quality of life? Psychology & Health, 16(2), 139-159).

This study examines the effects of personal resources of both heart patients and their close social partners on

patients’ coping and quality of life. Generalized personal resources (self-efficacy beliefs, dispositional optimism,

self-regulation competence) and outcomes were assessed by questionnaire 1–3 days before surgery (n = 122) and

again six months later (n = 50). Outcome variables were coping styles, social resources (social support and social

integration), emotional states, and further measures of quality of life. Patients’ personal resources were dominant

in the prediction of most of the outcomes. Partners’ resources were uniquely related to social support, social integration,

and quality of life as perceived by the patients. Further, partners’ personality resources predicted changes

in patients’ loneliness and energy levels during the six-month interval.

Schwarzer, R. (2001). Social-cognitive factors in changing health-related behavior. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 47-51.

Changing health-related behaviors requires two separate processes that involve motivation and volition, respectively. First, an intention to change is developed, in part on the basis of self-beliefs. Second, the change must be planned, initiated, and maintained, and relapses must be managed; self-regulation  plays a critical role in these processes. Social-cognition models of health behavior change address these two processes. One such model, the health action process approach, is explicitly based on the assumption that two distinct phases need to be studied longitudinally, one phase that leads to a behavioral intention and another that leads to the actual behavior. Particular social-cognitive variables may play different roles in the two stages; perceived self-efficacy is the only predictor that seems to be equally important in the two phases.

Schwarzer, R., & Renner, B. (2000). Social-cognitive predictors of health behavior: Action self-efficacy and coping self-efficacy. Health Psychology, 19(5), 487-495.

Health behavior can be predicted by social-cognitive variables, such as intentions, self-efficacy beliefs, outcome expectancies, and risk perceptions. In order to examine their effects on self-reported preventive nutrition behaviors and corresponding behavioral intentions, a study was launched with 580 respondents who participated at two points in time. It was hypothesized that optimistic self-beliefs operate in two phases, namely preintention and postintention. Therefore, a distinction was made between action self-efficacy (preintention) and coping self-efficacy (postintention). Risk perceptions, outcome expectancies, and action self-efficacy were specified as predictors of the intention at Wave 1. Behavioral intention and coping self-efficacy served as mediators linking the three predictors with self-reported nutrition behaviors, namely low-fat and high-fiber dietary intake, six months later at Wave 2. Covariance structure analysis yielded a good model fit, not only for the total sample, but also for six subsamples, created by a median split of three moderators: gender, age, and body weight. The model was well replicated, but the parameter estimates differed between samples, showing an increasing importance of perceived self-efficacy in persons who were older and who weighed more.

Renner, B., Knoll, N., & Schwarzer, R. (2000). Age and body weight make a difference in optimistic health beliefs and nutrition behaviors. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 7(2), 143-159. 

Nutrition behaviors are governed by health beliefs such as risk perceptions, outcome expectancies, and optimistic self-beliefs. The present study deals with the role that objective criteria such as age and body weight might play in forming subjective beliefs. The question is whether they can deter people from forming an overly optimistic judgment of their health risk. Six kinds of verbal judgments were assessed, namely self-reported health, vulnerability towards cardiovascular diseases, nutrition outcome expectancies, nutrition self-efficacy, intentions to change one’s diet, and reported nutrition behaviors. In a sample of 1,583 men and women between 14 and 87 years of age, these judgments were statistically related to age and body weight. It was found that people do take their objective risk status into account, but only to a certain degree. The self-serving bias continues to exist throughout all age groups and weight levels. Moreover, it was found that individuals report better intentions to adhere to healthy foods and better nutrition behaviors as they grow older and gain weight. 

Schmitz, G. S., & Schwarzer, R. (2000). Selbstwirksamkeitserwartung von Lehrern: Längs­schnitt­be­funde mit einem neuen Instrument [Self-efficacy of teachers: Longitudinal data using a new questionnaire]. Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie, 14(1), 12-25.

Why do some teachers succeed in being good teachers, in continuously enhancing students' achievements, in setting high goals for themselves and pursuing them persistently, while other teachers cannot meet expectations imposed on them and tend to collapse under their burden of daily stress? There are many reasons. One pertains to a teacher's perceived self–efficacy as a job specific personality trait. In the present article, the construct of perceived teacher self–efficacy is defined and distinguished from related constructs by referring to Bandura's social–cognitive theory. In a retrospective view on the history of the construct in the English–speaking world, theoretical problems and psychometric deficiencies become obvious. To stimulate research in the German–speaking countries, a new scale to measure teacher self–efficacy was developed and tested in a longitudinal field study. The nationwide test of this instrument on 275 teachers in ten schools revealed good psychometric properties. First indicators of validity could be obtained by means of correlations with other teacher characteristics at two points in time. High negative relations with job strain and with job burnout were found. Moreover, teachers high on teacher self–efficacy were used to offer up more leisure time for their students than their less self–efficacious counterparts.

Schwarzer, R., Schmitz, G. S., & Tang, C. (2000). Teacher burnout in Hong Kong and Germany: A cross-cultural validation of the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping, 13, 309-326.

Teacher burnout is a world-wide phenomenon that draws the attention of educational psychologists and stimulates efforts in construct elaboration and measurement. Emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation (cynicism), and lack of personal accomplishments are three dimensions that constitute the burnout syndrome. Levels of this burnout syndrome were compared among 542 German and Chinese teachers. It turned out that there were only minor differences between the Germans and the Chinese, but major differences between those two groups and the U. S. American normative data. Moreover, stress resource factors were measured, namely perceived self-efficacy and proactive attitude. Their negative intercorrelations with burnout supported the validity of the burnout measure, although the associations were much closer in the German subsample. An attempt to replicate the American three-factorial structure of the burnout construct failed in both subsamples, which is in line with previous evidence and calls for a revision of the original measure.

Schwarzer, R., & Schmitz, G. S. (1999). Kollektive Selbstwirksamkeitserwartung von Lehrern. Eine Längsschnittstudie in zehn Bundesländern [Collective self-efficacy among teachers. A longitudinal study in ten German states]. Zeitschrift für Sozialpsychologie, 30(4), 262-274.

Collective efficacy is defined as the subjective certainty to master new or challenging demand situations on the basis of competencies shared by a group of persons.  In the present study, the construct of collective efficacy was applied to groups of teachers. A new scale was developed for the assessment of optimistic beliefs in teacher competencies. The scale was administered to about 300 teachers twice within one year, in conjunction with two additional self-efficacy measures and three teacher burnout indicators. There were ten groups of teachers from ten German states, all taking part in a nation-wide school innovation project. The psychometric scale turned out to be homogeneous and reliabel. It was associated negatively with teacher burnout. Self-efficacy and collective efficacy combined were good predictors of the burnout syndrome one year later, whereas burnout did not appear to predict efficacy. Intraindividual differences between self-efficacy and collective efficacy were computed to find out whether teachers‘ optimistic beliefs were more individualistic or more collectivistic. This difference measure varied significantly between the ten schools, and also between the two points in time. With these research results in mind, the particular role of collective efficacy for school innovation and school consulting is discussed.

Teachers’ proactive attitude: Construct description and psychometric analyses  
(in German). 

Schmitz, G. S., & Schwarzer, R. (1999).

Empirische Pädagogik, 13(1), 3-27. 

The present paper  introduces the new construct ‘proactive attitude’, locates it within the model of self–regulative processes in goal attainment, and compares it to similar constructs. For the assessment of proactive attitude a short scale was developed and tested in a longitudinal field study. Within this nationwide study of teachers of ten schools the scale exhibited good psychometric properties. Preliminary evidence for validity was found in correlations with other teacher characteristics at the same point in time as well as at an earlier point in time. Positive relations with self–efficacy and negative relations with burnout and job related strain underscore that the new contruct can make a substantial contribution in explaining stress and coping among teachers. To further clearify the meaning of ‘proactive attitude’ the schools were first divided into groups of high and low proactive attitude schools, then variables were identified that succeeded in differentiating between those groups. Moreover, discriminators between all ten schools were examined, and proactive attitude was found to account for 8% of the variance between the schools.

Self-regulatory processes in the adoption and maintenance of health behaviors: The role of optimism, goals, and threats.
Schwarzer, R. (1999). 
Journal of Health Psychology, 4(2), 115-127.
Specific psychological constructs and comprehensive models or theories have been designed to account for individual differences in the way people abstain from risk behaviors, adopt health behaviors, and succeed or fail in self-regulatory attempts. The present paper traces the development of recent health behavior theories and relates them to research in the fields of motivation and self-regulation. Special emphasis is placed on optimism, both as a state and as a trait construct within self-regulatory processes. It is argued that optimistic self-beliefs may be phase-specific. For example, some individuals may have high confidence in their ability to set ambitious goals, whereas others may have high confidence in their ability to recover from setbacks. Moreover, a distinction is made between goal attainment processes and threat appraisal processes. Thus, emotions and behavior may differ when striving for superior health goals as opposed to coping with health threats. The present considerations are put forward to further elaborate the author’s Health Action Process Approach (HAPA).

Assessment of optimistic self-beliefs on the Internet: Data collection in cyberspace.
Schwarzer, R., Mueller, J., & Greenglass, E. (1999).
Anxiety, Stress, and Coping, 12, pp. 145-161.
General perceived self-efficacy pertains to optimistic beliefs about being able to cope with a large variety of stressors. It is measured with a ten-item scale that has proven useful in cross-cultural research. Previous findings suggest that the construct is universal and applies to the majority of cultures worldwide. The present investigation adds a new facet to it: Can it be measured as part of interactive computer sessions while surfing the Internet? A total of 1,437 computer users responded to a survey on the web, half of them young men and women below the age of 26. Data were compared to 290 Canadian university students, 274 German teachers, and 3,077 German high school students. It turned out that all psychometric characteristics were satisfactory. Some evidence for validity emerged. It is suggested that innovative methods of data collection are considered when developing a psychometric scale. Click here for more detailed research findings on the scale.

Coping as a mediator in recovery from heart surgery: A longitudinal study.
Schröder, K., Schwarzer, R., & Konertz, (1998).
Psychology & Health, 13, (1) pp. 83-97.
Recovery from surgery can be facilitated by adaptive coping or it can be inhibited by maladaptive coping. Coping itself can be influenced by personal and social coping resources. Within a longitudinal design, 174 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery were surveyed before the event and interviewed afterwards. Presurgical personal and social resources, such as optimistic self-beliefs and social support, where examined along with social and ruminative ways of coping in terms of a variety of recovery outcomes. Worry, emotional states, mental and physical activity were chosen as indicators of recovery. It was found that personal and social resources predicted recovery and that coping mediated resources and readjustment. Covariance structure analysis revealed that seeking social support was an adaptive way of coping. It was positively associated with agency beliefs and recovery indicators, whereas rumination was negatively associated with outcomes.

Teacher burnout from a social-cognitive perspective: A theoretical position paper
Schwarzer,-Ralf & Greenglass,-Esther (1999)
Vandenberghe, Roland (Ed); Huberman, A. Michael (Ed); et-al. (1999). Understanding and preventing teacher burnout:  A sourcebook of international research and practice. (pp. 238-246). New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press. 
We first comment on the construct of burnout and then deal with a stress and coping approach, followed by a new action-oriented motivational perspective. Special emphasis is given to resource factors and vulnerability factors that can moderate the burnout process.   

Evaluacion de la autoeficacia: adaptacion espanola de la Escala de Autoeficacia general. / Measuring optimistic self-beliefs: A Spanish adaptation of the General Self-Efficacy Scale 
Baessler,-Judith; Schwarzer,-Ralf (1999)
Ansiedad-y-Estres. 1996; Vol 2(1): 1-8 
Studied the psychometric features of the Spanish adaptation of the General Self-Efficacy Scale. Human Ss: 943 normal male and female Costa Rican adults (mean age 21 yrs) (undergraduate students). Item features, scale reliability, scale unidimensionality, scale characteristics, scale validity, and normative data were assessed.

Stress and coping from a social-cognitive perspective
Schwarzer,-Ralf (1998)
Csermely, Peter (Ed); et-al. (1998). Stress of life:  From molecules to man. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 851. (pp. 531-537). New York, NY, USA: New York Academy of Sciences
This chapter gives an overview of personal and social coping resources that help to combat stressful encounters and daily stress. The theoretical perspective is mainly inspired by the work of Bandura, Hobfoll, and Lazarus. As an introduction, the cognitive-relationship theory of stress, coping, and emotions will be briefly characterized.

Effects of self-efficacy and social support on postsurgical recovery of heart patients
Schwarzer,-Ralf; Schroeder,-Kerstin (1998)
Irish-Journal-of-Psychology. 1997; Vol 18(1): 88-103
Coping with stressful life events can be facilitated by personal and social resources, such as perceived self-efficacy and social support. This applies also to the adaptation to surgical stress and to severe diseases. 248 patients (mean age 58 yrs) were surveyed before and after heart surgery. Degree of worry, emotional states, reading activity, and physical activity were chosen as characteristics of the recovery process. Whether presurgical personal and social resources would predict readjustment after heart surgery was examined. Hierarchical regression analyses identified an interaction between the two resources, underscoring the existence of the well-known support buffer effect. Covariance structure analysis revealed that perceived self-efficacy was a better predictor of recovery than social support.

Social and personal coping resources as predictors of quality of life in cardiac patients 
Schwarzer,-Ralf & Schroeder,-Kerstin-E.-E. (1997)
European-Review-of-Applied-Psychology/Revue-Europeenne-de-Psychologie-Appliquee. 1997; Vol 47(2): 131-136
Quality of life after surgery can be improved by optimistic self-beliefs and social support. 248 patients undergoing heart surgery were surveyed once before and twice after surgery. Study 1 examined whether presurgical (Time 1) personal and social resources would predict quality of life 1 wk after heart surgery (Time 2). Synergistic affects emerged upon degree of worry and mental activity as quality of life indicators. Study 2 examined resources of social network members. A sample of 114 significant others, most of them spouses, reported about their own resources at Time 1. Spouses' optimistic self-beliefs and social support as measured at Time 1 predicted patients' quality of life after half a year (Time 3). The results are discussed in terms of the "resource transfer" within dyads in time of stress. 

  Predicting teacher burnout over time:  Effects of work stress, social support, and self-doubts on burnout and its consequences. 
Burke,-Ronald-J., Greenglass,-Esther-R., & Schwarzer,-Ralf (1997) 
Anxiety,-Stress-and-Coping:-An-International-Journal. 1996 Aug; Vol 9(3): 261-275 
Examines the relative importance of predictors of burnout over time. 362 elementary, junior high, and secondary school teachers and administrators (178 females, 184 males) completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory twice over the course of 1 yr. Data show that predictors of burnout depend primarily on Ss' social roles including the occupational role which is often confounded with gender. Among male Ss, scores were higher on depersonalization and emotional exhaustion than for female Ss. In addition, teachers had higher levels of burnout than school administrators with the exception of the personal accomplishment component. Overall, the strongest predictors of burnout were red tape (for administrators) and disruptive students (for teachers). Results indicate more teachers are female than male and more administrators are male than female. Therefore, female Ss are more prone to disruptive students and male Ss are more prone to red tape predictors of burnout.

Optimism, goals, and threats: How to conceptualize self-regulatory processes in the adoption and maintenance of health behaviors.
Schwarzer, R. (1998).
Psychology and Health, 13, pp. 759-766.
ABSTRACT How individuals control themselves and their health behaviors can be better understood by examining their self-beliefs in terms of threats and goals. The distinction between self-regulatory threat appraisals and self-regulatory goal attainment my help to explain when individuals fall prey to defensive optimism and when they are guided by functional optimism. To underscore the notion of process-specific self-beliefs, a further distinction is made between goal-setting self-efficacy, action self-efficacy, coping self-efficacy, and recovery self-efficacy. Click here for HAPA model.

Optimistic self-beliefs: Assessment of general perceived self-efficacy in thirteen cultures.
Schwarzer, R., & Born, A. (1997).
World Psychology,
3(1-2), 177-190.
ABSTRACT General perceived self-efficacy pertains to optimistic beliefs about being able to cope with a large variety of stressors. In contrast to other constructs of optimism, perceived self-efficacy explicitly refers to one’s competence to deal with challenging encounters. It is measured with a parsimonious ten-item scale that was developed for use across cultures. The research question aims at the cross-cultural equivalence of multiple adaptations of this instrument. The present paper compares the language-specific adaptations that were examined in 13 cultures from all over the world. A total of 12,840 individuals responded to the instrument. The unidimensional nature of the scale was replicated in all samples, using reliability analyses as well as exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. Self-efficacy differences between the 13 cultures are discussed. Click here for updated FULL PAPER.

Predicting cardiac patients' quality of life from the characteristics of their spouses.
Schröder, K. E. E., Schwarzer, R., & Endler, N. S. (1997).
Journal of Health Psychology
, 2, 2 (2), 231-244.
ABSTRACT Recovery from surgery can be facilitated by personal and social resources, such as optimistic self-beliefs and social support. Moreover, the existence of a social network and the behavior of its members can also have a positive effect. Patients (N = 381; 302 men, 79 women) undergoing heart surgery were surveyed once before and twice after their surgery. In addition, 114 social network members (18 men, 96 women), most of them spouses, reported about their own perceived resources at Time 1. It turned out that characteristics of spouses were related to patient characteristics. Recovery from surgery at Time 2 and readjustment to normal life after half a year (Time 3) could be partly predicted by spouses' perceived social support and optimistic self-beliefs (Time 1).

Psychosocial correlates of substance use: Comparing high school students with incarcerated offenders in Hong Kong.
Wong, C. S. Y., Tang, C. S. K., & Schwarzer, R. (1997).
Journal of Drug Education, 27(2), 147-172.
Abstract Drug use prevalence data were obtained from 969 adolescents, high school students and imprisoned offenders who reported use of cough medicine, organic solvents, cannabis, heroin, tranquilizers, and narcotics over the past six months. Incarcerated youths, in particular girls, had higher prevalence rates than students. Drug use frequencies were associated with psychosocial variables such as disinhibition, peer drug use, susceptibility to peer pressure, attitudes, encouragement by peers, and perceived availability of drugs. The psychosocial process of the initiation and maintenance of substance use was specified as a path model that considered personality and social environment as distal precursors and a drug-use predisposition and perceived availability as proximal precursors of three kinds of outcome variables: drug use, the intention to try illicit drugs if they were legal, and adverse outcomes of drug use. It was found that the same structural equation model fitted the data of both samples of offenders and students, however, with very different weights assigned to the pathes.

The assessment of optimistic self-beliefs: Comparison of the German, Spanish, and Chinese versions    of   the General Self-efficacy Scale.
 Schwarzer,-Ralf; Bässler,-Judith; Kwiatek,-Patricia; Schröder,-Kerstin; et-al
 Applied-Psychology-An-International-Review;1997 Jan Vol 46(1) 69-88.
ABSTRACT Compares 3 versions of a 10-item General Self-efficacy Scale that was developed for use in several cultures in samples of 430 German, 959 Costa Rican, and 293 Chinese (Hong Kong) university students. Results show satisfactory psychometric properties in all 3 languages. Reliability, item-total correlations, and factor loadings indicate that the scale can be seen as homogenous and unidimensional, and that the self-efficacy construct tends to be universal.

Anticipating stress in the community: Worries about the future of Hong Kong.
 Schwarzer,-Ralf; Chung,-Robert
 Anxiety,-Stress-and-Coping-An-International-Journal;1996 Jul Vol 9(2) 163-178.
ABSTRACT Examined worry about the future after the transition of Hong Kong from British to Chinese rule in 1997, especially the degree to which it is appraised as a challenge, threat, or benefit. Two samples of Ss responded to the same set of variables measuring threat/worry, challenge/self-efficacy, and benefit responses to the transition. A random sample of 501 Hong Kong citizens (aged 18-81 yrs) responded to a telephone survey, while 293 undergraduates completed questionnaires during class time. About half the random sample voiced concerns about their future by acknowledging that they were preoccupied with thoughts about life later, that they perceived a serious threat, and that they worried. About 80% of the students were not or hardly concerned about the issue. More than half disagreed with the notion that the political changes would pose a serious threat, and one-third also disagreed with the worry items. Possible reasons for the students' lack of concern are discussed.

Social bonding and loneliness after network disruption: A longitudinal study of East German refugees.
  Jerusalem,-Matthias; Hahn,-Andre; Schwarzer,-Ralf
  Social-Indicators-Research;1996 Jul Vol 38(3) 229-243.
ABSTRACT Examined the social integration and loneliness in East Germans and refugees following migration to West Germany and determined the presence of age and sex differences. 235 13-67 yr olds were interviewed 3 times during the 2 yrs following their transition to West Berlin. Social bonding was measured by the number of friends they met since they arrived and whether these were men or women. Loneliness was measured by the German adaptation of the UCLA loneliness scale (D. Russell et al, 1984). Results showed that the number of new friends increased steadily, and loneliness declined. Men made more friends than women, in particular same-sex friends, whereas women knitted ties with both sexes. The young built larger networks than the intermediate age group. Loneliness emerged as an inhibiting factor in the bonding process.

Measuring optimistic self-beliefs: A Chinese adaptation of the General Self-Efficacy Scale.
 Zhang,-Jian-Xin; Schwarzer,-Ralf
Psychologia-An-International-Journal-of-Psychology-in-the-Orient, 1995 Sep Vol 38(3) 174-181.
ABSTRACT Constructed and tested a Chinese version of the General Self-Efficacy Scale. Using a sample of 293 university students, the internal consistency was .91. The scale was also completed by a bilingual sample of 43 Chinese students who filled out the English version followed, 3 wks later, by the Chinese version. The lagged correlation between both versions was .71. Further psychometric properties are described that underscore the usefulness of the inventory. It was found that men scored on average higher in general self-efficacy than women, which is in line with results from previous samples. Preliminary norms are given to encourage further field testing of this scale.

Stability of coping in Hong Kong medical students: A longitudinal study.
 Stewart,-Sunita-M.; Schwarzer,-Ralf
 Personality-and-Individual-Differences;1996 Feb Vol 20(2) 245-255.
ABSTRACT Explored self-reported coping preferences of 121 ethnic Chinese 1st year medical students. Ss were assessed during registration week (Time 1) and 8 mo later (Time 2). Beyond the description of mean differences, several methodological issues of coping assessment were raised, in particular the issues of stability, generality, and dimensionality of psychometric scales to measure coping. The stability over time was very low, which might be seen as evidence for more situation-dependent than personality-dependent coping. In principal component analyses, different coping dimensions emerged at Time 1 and Time 2. In regression analyses, subsequent coping strategies could hardly be predicted by antecedent coping strategies. Data suggest that coping assessment might be of limited value when done in a trait-like manner. Situation-oriented coping assessment strategies might be more valid.

Psychosocial differences between occasional and regular adolescent users of marijuana and heroin.
 Tang,-Catherine-S.-K.; Wong,-Connie-S.-Y.; Schwarzer,-Ralf
 Journal-of-Youth-and-Adolescence;1996 Apr Vol 25(2) 219-239. 
ABSTRACT Investigated personality and social antecedents of occasional and regular use of marijuana and heroin among 969 adolescents in Hong Kong, 40.2% being incarcerated delinquents. Most of the Ss were school students, with a mean age of 15.87 yrs for boys and 15.84 yrs for girls whereas in the delinquent sample, the overall mean age was 17.32 yrs. Self-report questionnaires measured variables that included personal, peer, and family drug use, as well as susceptibility to peer pressure and sensation seeking. Drug use frequencies were highly associated with psychosocial variables such as sensation seeking, peer drug use, family drug use, susceptibility to peer pressure, perceived control to gain access to drugs, intention to try other substances, and perceived adverse consequences of drug use. The exclusive use of marijuana was associated with high susceptibility to peer pressure and with perceived control to gain access to drugs.

A window on the self: Reconstructing thought processes to understand human action.
Psychology-and-Health;1995 Jun Vol 10(4) 285-289.
ABSTRACT Endorses J. Ogden's  analysis of how researchers see individuals through the eyes of a changing profession and how researchers constitute the individual through their theoretical contemplation and preferred research methods. Ogden's historical analysis may suffer from the fact that the formal discipline of health psychology was nonexistent 2 decades ago. Putting the self on stage has turned out to be a timely shift in attention. Health psychology must be interested in alterable variables found to guide human action. Individuals are not seen as being merely involved in a sequence of person-situation interactions, but are conceived of as competent decision-makers who set goals for themselves and control their action more or less successfully.

Social integration and social support in a life crisis: Effects of macrosocial change in East Germany.
 Schwarzer,-Ralf; Hahn,-Andre; Schroder,-Harry
American-Journal-of-Community-Psychology;1994 Oct Vol 22(5) 685-706.
ABSTRACT Conducted a longitudinal study to examine the psychological readaptation process in 171 men and 247 women (aged 18-67 yrs) from the former East Germany after the reunification of East and West Germany. Some indicators of social changes of migrants ( n = 216) compared to nonmigrants ( n = 206) were available. At 3 points in time over 2 yrs, both groups reported on their social bonding and social support. Migrants readjusted well by making new friends. In particular, young men were socially active. More same-sex than opposite-sex friendships were established. The group of young migrants reported having received the most support, in particular when they had a partner. Anticipated support, in contrast, was highest for young single women who did not migrate.

The multidimensional nature of received social support in gay men at risk of HIV infection and AIDS.
 Schwarzer,-Ralf; Dunkel-Schetter,-Christine; Kemeny,-Margaret
American-Journal-of-Community-Psychology;1994 Jun Vol 22(3) 319-339.
ABSTRACT Examined the construct of received social support in gay men at risk of HIV and AIDS. Distinctions were made among 3 types (informational, tangible, emotional), 4 sources (friends, relatives, partner, organizations), and 3 dimensions (amount, satisfaction, reciprocity) of support. A 24-item inventory reflecting these distinctions was administered to 587 gay men (aged 22-58 yrs) at 2 points in time. The psychometric properties of the instrument were determined, and the factor structure was tested by varying sources and types of social support. This was done by exploratory as well as by confirmatory factor analyses. The hypothesized structure was confirmed in both waves separately. Results corroborate the assumption that enacted or received social support is a highly differentiated construct and requires assessment tools that are designed accordingly. Descriptive results of Ss' support perceptions are presented.

Reemployment after migration from East to West Germany: A longitudinal study on psychosocial factors.
Schwarzer,-Ralf; Hahn,-Andre
Applied-Psychology-An-International-Review;1995 Jan Vol 44(1) 77-93.
ABSTRACT 126 men (mean age 31 yrs) and 109 women (mean age 32 yrs) who were East-German immigrants were interviewed 3 times in the 2 yrs after their transition to West Berlin in 1989. Ss completed a questionnaire that measured employment status, duration, and unemployment expectancies, stress appraisals, social support, health complaints, and personality variables. Ss with higher expectations were more successful in gaining a job, and women were less likely to expect reemployment than were men. Expectancies were independent of dispositional optimism and other personality traits. Initial expectancies and illness were the major predictors of employment duration, and illness operated through stress appraisals and social support at the 2nd interview. Thus, Ss' expectancies were based on factors other than psychological ones, and illness reduced the likelihood of reemployment, partly through increased stress and decreased social support.
 Selbstwirksamkeit zur sportlichen Aktivitat: Reliabilitat und Validitat eines neuen Me(sinstruments. (Self-efficacy toward physical exercise: Reliability and validity of a new instrument.)
Fuchs,-Reinhard; Schwarzer,-Ralf
Zeitschrift-fur-Differentielle-und-Diagnostische-Psychologie;1994 Sep Vol 15(3) 141-154.
ABSTRACT Describes the development and validation of the Exercise Self-Efficacy Scale (ESES), a German-language instrument for assessing the belief that 1 is capable of sticking to an exercise program, even under unfavorable circumstances. The scale was tested in a sample of 1,336 normal male and female German adult participants in a longitudinal study on health behaviors. Results indicate that the ESES has satisfactory internal consistency and correlates positively with generalized self-efficacy, self-efficacy concerning other health behaviors, and intentions regarding physical exercise. The scale correlates negatively with indicators of mental and physical distress, and discriminates between physically active and physically inactive persons.

Alcohol consumption in a time of macrosocial stress: Migration, social isolation, and anger as risk factors.
Schwarzer,-Ralf; Schroder,-Kerstin; Schroder,-Harry
Anxiety,-Stress-and-Coping-An-International-Journal;1994 Aug Vol 7(2) 173-184.
ABSTRACT Studied psychosocial changes (as indicated by alcohol consumption) in East Germans during the collapse of the communist system. 214 East Germans (111 men, 103 women) who migrated to West Berlin were assessed at 3 time points over 2 yrs and compared with 224 East Germans (163 women, 61 men) who did not migrate. At study onset, all Ss were 17-66 yrs old. Women drank almost no alcohol, whereas men indicated disparate drinking habits depending on various risk factors, including social integration. Migrating men reduced their alcohol consumption after resettlement. Trait anger emerged as a risk factor, except for men after resettlement.

Optimism, vulnerability, and self-beliefs as health-related cognitions: A systematic overview. 
Psychology-and-Health;1994 Apr Vol 9(3) 161-180.
ABSTRACT Distinguishes between defensive and functional optimism in order to address various health-related cognitions. Research on biases in risk perception and vulnerability is presented, and it is shown that most people make unrealistic assumptions when predicting their susceptibility to diseases. Various constructs are then presented that could be collapsed under the label functional optimism. These include optimistic explanatory style, dispositional optimism, and self-efficacy. Empirical findings are presented that underscore the health-promoting effect of favorable self-beliefs and of a positive outlook on life. It is argued that further specifications are needed to disentangle agency-related from situation-related components of optimism. The question is considered regarding to what degree health-related cognitions have to be realistic, or whether illusions can be adaptive and healthy.

Ein neues Leben mit neuen Freunden: Zum Prozess der sozialen Integration bei Ubersiedlern aus der DDR. / A new life with new friends: The process of social integration in immigrants from the GDR.
Auhagen,-Ann-E.; Schwarzer,-Ralf
Zeitschrift-fur-Entwicklungspsychologie-und-Padagogische-Psychologie;1994 Vol 26(2) 166-184.
ABSTRACT Studied social integration processes in East Germans who immigrated to West Germany shortly after the opening of the Berlin Wall in the fall of 1989. Ss were 126 male (mean age 31 yrs) and 109 female East German adolescents and adults (mean age 32 yrs) immigrating to West Germany. Ss' completed questionnaires assessing the number and sex of their friends, their social support resources, and their degrees of loneliness at 3 points in time: the fall or winter of 1989-1990, the summer of 1990, and the summer of 1991. Changes in these parameters were analyzed in relation to Ss' age, gender, and sociodemographic characteristics. Several German-language instruments, including a German version of the UCLA Loneliness Scale (D. Russell et al, 1980), were used.

Optimistische Kompetenzerwartung: Zur Erfassung einer personellen Bewaltigungsressource. / Generalized self-efficacy: Assessment of a personal coping resource.
Diagnostica;1994 Vol 40(2) 105-123.
ABSTRACT Describes the psychometric properties of a German-language scale for assessing generalized self-efficacy (GSE), a stable personality characteristic that reflects an individual's belief that he or she can cope with difficult demands. The 10-item scale has been used to assess perceptions of GSE in a wide range of empirical studies, including research on stress, psychosocial adaptation, and health beliefs. Results support the validity and reliability of the scale, revealing that GSE correlates positively with optimism, self-esteem, internal control and achievement motivation and negatively with anxiety, depression, and neuroticism.

Screening for mental health problems after neurotoxic exposure: Brief psychometric scales. Bowler,-Rosemarie-M.; Schwarzer,-Ralf; Mergler,-Donna; Rauch,-Stephen-S.
European-Journal-of-Psychological-Assessment;1992 Vol 8(2) 99-108.
ABSTRACT Conducted 3 studies to derive very short MMPI subscales that may prove useful for rapid evaluation of neurotoxic effects. Study 1 used data obtained from 194 former microelectronics workers with a history of organic solvent exposure and from 120 nonexposed controls. Three short scales were developed: Anxiety, Lack of Concentration, and Somatic Symptoms. The exposed workers endorsed items indicating a high degree of anxiety, an inability to concentrate, and complaints about bodily symptoms. Study 2 was designed to cross-validate the psychometric properties in 250 students. All 3 scales turned out to be sufficiently reliable. Study 3 further cross-validated the findings in 547 Ss, 305 of whom were exposed to organic solvents in a pump cleaning plant. Prior results were replicated, confirming that exposed Ss scored higher on anxiety, lack of concentration, and somatic symptoms as measured by the new scales.

Negative affect in East German migrants: Longitudinal effects of unemployment and social support.
Schwarzer,-Ralf; Hahn,-André; Jerusalem,-Matthias
Anxiety,-Stress-and-Coping-An-International-Journal;1993 Vol 6(1) 57-69.
ABSTRACT Studied individual differences in anxiety and depression with respect to employment status and social support. 235 East German migrants who emigrated to West Germany were studied over a 2-yr period. There was a stable effect of employment status on anxiety and a significant decline of anxiety over time. Those Ss who found a job showed a gain in well-being. Jobless Ss were more depressed, and those who remained jobless over 2 yrs reported the highest degree of negative affect. Ss who remained jobless but received support were less anxious and less depressed.

Interaction of employment status and self-efficacy on alcohol consumption: A two-wave study on stressful life transitions.
Mittag,-Waldemar; Schwarzer,-Ralf
Psychology-and-Health;1993 Mar Vol 8(1) 77-87.
ABSTRACT 165 male and 105 female East German migrants completed measures of self-efficacy, alcohol consumption (AC), and employment status at 2 points of time with an interval of approximately 8 mo. Augmented AC appeared as an indicator of poor health behavior. Women did not drink heavily, and there were no associations for women between joblessness and self-efficacy. For men, AC was higher and was related to employment status and self-efficacy. Men who were unemployed at both measurement points in time were drinking almost twice as much as those who were employed at least at 1 point in time, indicating that long-term unemployment might be a situational risk factor for drinking men. This pertained only to men low in general self-efficacy.

Environmental anxiety: Assessing emotional distress and concerns after toxin exposure.
Bowler,-Rosemarie-M.; Schwarzer,-Ralf
Anxiety-Research;1991 Oct Vol 4(2) 167-180.
ABSTRACT Study 1 measured general anxiety in 485 workers exposed to organic solvents and 379 nonexposed workers. This was pursued to examine whether exposure leads to an increment in emotional disturbance and personality change, as reflected by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2). General anxiety was significantly higher in solvent-exposed Ss than in referents. In Study 2, environmental anxiety was assessed among 250 undergraduates and 291 solvent-exposed and 259 nonexposed workers by an environmental worry scale (EWS). The EWS achieved satisfactory psychometric properties and demonstrated its usefulness for general research purposes. Study 3 examined the pathway that leads to the behavioral intention to avoid chemicals by using the EWS in a structural equation model. It was concluded that a certain degree of environmental worry is a prerequisite to transform the threatening event into readiness for action.

An integration of stress concepts into Eysenck's model.
Psychological-Inquiry;1991 Vol 2(3) 264-265.
ABSTRACT Discusses the synergistic, multi-risk-factor theory proposed by H. J. Eysenck  in his article on personality and disease. Elaboration is needed of the theory describing the complicated mediating and moderating psychological processes involved in the pathogenesis of different diseases.

Stigma controllability and coping as predictors of emotions and social support.
Schwarzer,-Ralf; Weiner,-Bernard
Journal-of-Social-and-Personal-Relationships;1991 Feb Vol 8(1) 133-140.
ABSTRACT Examined affective reactions toward 8 disease-related stigmas and the intention to extend social support in a simulation experiment. The onset of the stigmas was varied as being either controllable or uncontrollable. In addition, the target person was described either as actively coping with the stigma or as not coping. The research question explored the effects of onset controllability and coping efforts on expectancies; blame; emotions such as pity, anger, and social stress; and on the willingness to support the target person. Each of 84 university students was confronted with the 8 stigmas under 4 different conditions. Both experimental factors elicited affective reactions and judgments to help. However, the coping dimension appeared stronger for most dependent variables. In addition, helping behavior was mediated by different affective reactions for disparate stigma groupings.

Social support and health: A theoretical and empirical overview.
Schwarzer,-Ralf; Leppin,-Anja
Journal-of-Social-and-Personal-Relationships;1991 Feb Vol 8(1) 99-127.
ABSTRACT Conducted a meta-analysis that related social support (SOS) and social integration to morbidity and mortality based on 80 empirical studies, including more than 60,000 Ss. Data revealed disparate patterns of results that give rise to intriguing theoretical questions. Evidently, SOS operates in complex ways. Several causal models are specified that represent alternative pathways of SOS processes. Where SOS was associated with less illness, a direct effect model was proposed. In cases where more support was seemingly paradoxically associated with illness it is assumed that a mobilization of support has taken place. Recent research examples are presented that help illustrate future directions untangling the SOS-illness relationship.

Predicting adolescent health complaints by personality and behaviors.
Schwarzer,-Ralf; Jerusalem,-Matthias; Kleine,-Dietmar
Psychology-and-Health;1990 Vol 4(3) 233-244.
ABSTRACT Predicted individual differences in health complaints by personality traits and by self-reported health/risk behaviors in 97 male adolescents (aged 17-22 yrs). Anxiety and loneliness were measured at Times 1 and 2, and health locus of control (HLOC), various behaviors, and health complaints were assessed at the end of the 2-yr study. A causal model was specified, employing anxiety and loneliness as distal predictors and HLOC and behaviors as proximal predictors of health complaints. Anxiety was the most powerful single predictor, and loneliness exerted a direct effect on HLOC and behaviors and an indirect effect on health complaints. Risk behavior as well as health behavior were related to complaints. Social integration facilitated not only health behavior but also risk behavior.

Selbstaufmerksamkeit und belastende Lebensereignisse: Eine Langsschnittstudie zur Ruckfalligkeit von Alkoholikern. / Self-consciousness and stressful life events: A longitudinal study of replapse in alcoholics.
Mittag,-Waldemar; Liebig,-Holger; Freund,-Alexandra; Schwarzer,-Ralf Zeitschrift-fur-Klinische-Psychologie.-Forschung-und-Praxis;1991 Vol 20(2) 154-165.
ABSTRACT Studied the interactions among self-awareness, critical life events, and relapse among alcoholics who completed a 3-wk inpatient detoxification program. The study was based on a social-cognitive model of addictive behavior. Ss were 38 male West German adult alcoholics (aged 24-62 yrs). Toward the end of inpatient treatment and again 3 and 6 mo later, Ss completed questionnaires assessing self-awareness and critical life events. The posttreatment test batteries also included a measure of recidivism. Interactions among self-awareness, critical life events, and recidivism were analyzed. Several German-language instruments were used, including the Self-Awareness Scale by M. Jerusalem and Schwarzer (1986), the Munich Life Events List by W. Maier-Diewald et al (1983), and the Munich Alcoholism Test by W. Feuerlein et al (1978).

Die Wirkung von Kontrollierbarkeit und Bewaltigungsverhalten auf Emotionen und soziale Unterstutzung. / The effects of controllability and coping on emotion and social support.
Schwarzer,-Ralf; Weiner,-Bernard 
Zeitschrift-fur-Sozialpsychologie;1990 Vol 21(2) 118-125.
ABSTRACT Studied factors determining affective reactions to health-related stigmas and intention to extend social support to persons with these stigmas. Focus was on the effects of perceived controllability of the stigmatized condition and of the individual's strategies for coping with the condition. Human subjects: 85 male and female West German adults (university students). The Ss were presented with descriptions of individuals with 1 of 8 stigmatized conditions--acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), cancer, drug abuse, heart disease, anorexia nervosa, child abuse, depression, and obesity. The descriptions varied in terms of the cause of the stigmatized condition and the individual's coping behaviors. For each case, the Ss were asked to indicate the degree of anger or pity they felt for the individual and the amount of social support they would be willing to provide.

Selbstkonzept und Angstlichkeit als Einflussgrossen fur Stresserleben und Bewaltigungstendenzen. (Self-concept and anxiety as predictors of stress experiences and coping tendencies.)
Jerusalem,-Matthias; Schwarzer,-Ralf
Zeitschrift-fur-Entwicklungspsychologie-und-Padagogische-Psychologie;1989 Vol 21(4) 307-324.
ABSTRACT Studied the prediction of problem-focused and emotion-focused coping preferences by individual and cultural differences in coping resources and coping vulnerabilities. Human subjects: 476 normal male German and Turkish adolescents and adults (aged 16-22 yrs). A year-long longitudinal study was conducted. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) and covariance structure analysis were performed. Tests used: A German version of the Self-Esteem Scale (M. Rosenberg, 1979), a German version of the Reactions to Tests Questionnaire (I. G. Sarason, 1984), the Shyness Scale (Schwarzer et al, 1986), the Work Load Scale, and the Time Pressure Scale.

Social support and health: A meta-analysis.
Schwarzer,-Ralf; Leppin,-Anja
Psychology-and-Health;1989 Mar Vol 3(1) 1-15.
ABSTRACT Performed meta-analysis on 55 studies (published 1976-1987) on social support (SOS) and health that included a total sample size of 32,739 Ss. 83 effect sizes (correlations), based on independent samples, were identified. The correlations between SOS and poor health (including mortality) ranged from r = -0.60 to +0.23. The meta-analysis focused on data subsets generated by potential moderators, including gender, kind of support, and specific health variables. Ill health was more pronounced for those who lacked SOS, and SOS and health were more closely associated for women than for men. The degree of association depended on the circumstances, the population, and the concepts and measures of SOS and health employed.

Anxiety and self-concept as antecedents of stress and coping: A longitudinal study with German and Turkish adolescents.
Jerusalem,-Matthias; Schwarzer,-Ralf
Personality-and-Individual-Differences;1989 Vol 10(7) 785-792. 
ABSTRACT Investigates to what extent subjective coping preferences (problem-focused coping and emotion-focused coping) can be predicted by individual and cultural differences in coping resources and coping vulnerabilities. Self-concept is considered as a personal resource whereas anxiety is considered as a vulnerability factor. Within a longitudinal design, 467 German and Turkish apprentices (aged 17-22 yrs) served as Ss. By analysis of variance (ANOVA) and by covariance structure analysis (LISREL) it could be demonstrated that emotion-focused coping is mainly influenced by anxiety whereas self-concept turned out to be beneficial for problem-focused coping in the German subsample.

Meta-analysis programs.
Behavior-Research-Methods,-Instruments,-and-Computers;1988 Jun Vol 20(3) 338.
ABSTRACT Describes a computer program for conducting meta-analysis with subroutines for manipulating probabilities, effect sizes, and correlations and managing data files.

Anxiety, aspirations, and self-concept in the achievement process: A longitudinal model with latent variables.
Covington,-Martin-V.; Omelich,-Carol-L.; Schwarzer,-Ralf
Motivation-and-Emotion;1986 Mar Vol 10(1) 71-88.
ABSTRACT Investigated the presumed linkages between traitlike predispositions to perceive threat and achievement performance, as mediated by statelike anxiety arousal on a longitudinal basis, using 435 psychology students. Self-report questionnaires were administered during a preenrollment period, after the first 2 midterms, and following the last 2 midterms. Little evidence was provided for the assumption that traitlike threat perceptions mediate performance; rather it was suggested that transient anxiety-linked emotions may be best understood as a byproduct of test taking. Findings support a recent reinterpretation of achievement anxiety as stemming from the disruptive effects of diminished ability perceptions and impaired personal worth, rather than from the interfering influence of diffused emotional arousal per se.
The evaluation of convergent and discriminant validity by use of structural equations.
Archiv-fur-Psychologie;1983 Vol 135(3) 219-243.
ABSTRACT The traditional procedure in analyzing a multitrait-multimethod matrix is intuitive and informal. One modern strategy to obtain precise information on convergent and discriminant validity is an approach in which all traits and methods are specified as latent variables. This can be viewed as a special case of confirmatory factor analysis or path analysis. This strategy was applied to the distinction between 3 facets of self-concept; to the validation of anxiety, curiosity, and anger measured both as a trait and as a state; and to the validation of 2 attitudes concerning cigarette smoking and capital punishment. The parameters were estimated by the LISREL V program. Results encourage further applications in educational research.

Worry and emotionality as separate components in test anxiety.
International-Review-of-Applied-Psychology;1984 Apr Vol 33(2) 205-220.
ABSTRACT Administered the Test Anxiety Inventory (TAI) to 763 males and 811 females in Grades 6 and 9 as part of a longitudinal study of the development of school-related anxiety, dissatisfaction, and the perceived learning environment. Data were analyzed using confirmatory factor analysis, which posited worry and emotionality as latent variables. The final set of items was evaluated in an exploratory factor analysis with varimax rotation, and smallest space analysis was used to further demonstrate the separation of worry and emotionality. A traditional item analysis was also performed. The separation of worry and emotionality as different components of test anxiety was independently demonstrated in confirmatory factor analyses with the female and male samples. The 2 dimensions correlated 0.67 in the female sample and 0.54 in the male sample. Traditional factor, smallest space, and item analyses all confirmed and enriched these findings. It is concluded that the TAI appears to be a very promising instrument. It is a reliable and content valid measure that can be used to assess cognitive and emotional facets of test anxiety as a situation-specific trait.

Social comparison, expectations and emotional reactions in the classroom.
Grobel,-Jo; Schwarzer,-Ralf
School-Psychology-International;1982 Jan-Mar Vol 3(1) 49-56.
ABSTRACT Conducted a longitudinal study of 2,253 German 5th and 8th graders, who responded to a questionnaire that measured test anxiety, trait and state anxiety, attitudes toward school, perceived anonymity and loss of control, self-esteem, and perceived classroom competition. Results show that a growing competition within a reference group with relatively high academic standards led to higher levels of anxiety. Ss with a generally lower performing reference group seemed to feel less threatened over time. Perceived school environment was a major factor in affecting self-esteem and anxiety. It is concluded that school anxiety is mediated by the student's specific perception of the interaction between personal position and social surroundings. Teachers should give special attention to the emotional effects of classroom competition.

Achievement anxiety with respect to reference groups in school.
Schwarzer,-Ralf; Schwarzer,-Christine
Journal-of-Educational-Research;1982 May-Jun Vol 75(5) 305-308.
ABSTRACT Reference group theory predicts that students of low ability in good classes feel worse than students of high ability in poor classes. With this in mind, a German version of the Test Anxiety Scale for Children was administered to 1,479 5th and 8th graders attending 1 of 3 academic tracks. An interaction between type of school and grade level confirmed the expectation that after some years in a selective system students display a paradox pattern of well-being. In the discussion, reference group theory and test anxiety theory are tied together by focussing on self-evaluations in a social context.

Selbstkonzeptentwicklung nach einem Bezugsgruppenwechsel. (Self-concept development after a reference-group change.)
Schwarzer,-Ralf; Lange,-Bernward; Jerusalem,-Matthias Zeitschrift-fur-Entwicklungspsychologie-und-Padagogische-Psychologie;1982 Apr Vol 14(2) 125-140.
ABSTRACT The development of the school-related self-concept of ability and the general self-evaluation of pupils has been viewed as a school socialization effect independent of reference groups. Ability is perceived with respect to social comparison processes within the learning environment, and achievement is performed and evaluated in a limited social context that is considered a reference group by students. A shift from one reference group to another can result in a change of individual rank positions leading to a change in academic self-concept. In West Germany, the transition from primary to secondary school is a transition from an achievement heterogeneous context to 3 levels of achievement homogeneous contexts. Students who enter a high or a low track are prone to altered social comparisons. In a longitudinal study, 251 students were followed up during the year after the transition. It is concluded that at the transition point, strong differences between high and low achievers were present; this was not the case some months later after Ss had adapted to the new social context. Findings demonstrate a reference group effect.

Arger als Zustand und als Disposition. (Anger as state and trait.)
Schwarzer,-Ralf; Schwarzer,-Christine
Zeitschrift-fur-Differentielle-und-Diagnostische-Psychologie;1982 Jan-Mar Vol 3(1) 27-33.
ABSTRACT State-Anger and Trait-Anger can be assessed separately by 2 scales of the State-Trait Personality Inventory. A self-report procedure can be the most valid method to measure these aspects because emotions are private events that cannot be observed by others more accurately than by oneself. In the present study, the separation was performed by a confirmatory factor analysis. The final solution is illustrated by smallest space analysis and exploratory factor analysis.

Besorgtheit und Aufgeregtheit als unterscheidbare Komponenten der Leistungsangstlichkeit. / The identification of worry and of emotionality factors in test anxiety.
Psychologische-Beitrage;1981 Vol 23(3-4) 579-594.
ABSTRACT Recent research on anxiety has focused on the separation of worry and emotionality as different components of test anxiety. A new test-anxiety inventory was analyzed by a confirmatory factor analysis to determine whether the data would fit a 2-dimensional model. The study is based on data from 2,416 students attending Grades 5, 6, and 9. Preliminary data analysis was made with 6th graders only. If 5 items were eliminated, the goodness of fit became acceptable. The final solution contained 6 worry and 9 emotionality items. This solution was replicated successfully with the other 2 subsamples; this replication was also valid for different methods of data analysis. A correlation study supported the assumption of convergent validity. Worry as well as emotionality turned out to be dependent on academic achievement; however, they differed in age specificity.

Selbstwertdienliche Attributionen nach Leistungsruckmeldungen. (Self-serving attributions after performance feedback.)
Schwarzer,-Ralf; Jerusalem,-Matthias
Zeitschrift-fur-Entwicklungspsychologie-und-Padagogische-Psychologie;1982 Jan Vol 14(1) 47-57.
ABSTRACT Maintains that causal attributions for success are usually more internal and causal attributions for failure more external. This can be seen as a self-serving bias. Contradictory findings can be explained by self-enhancement strategies in self-presentation or by individual differences in self-concept. This study focused on individual differences as moderators of the relationship between achievement feedback and causal attributions. In 2 experiments with 28 5th graders and 80 college students, a personality dimension and the achievement feedback showed an interaction with ability attribution. It is concluded that individuals with high self-esteem can be characterized by a preference of processing self-serving attributions.

Test anxiety related to grade levels and types of schools.
Psychologie-in-Erziehung-und-Unterricht;1981 Vol 28(1) 1-6.
ABSTRACT Tested the assumption that test anxiety follows a differential development during secondary school. A test anxiety scale was given to 1,359 5th-8th graders in the German tripartite school system. As expected, a disordinal interaction was found by 2-way ANOVA. In the 5th grade, Ss with the lowest achievement level showed the highest anxiety level, while those with the highest achievement level showed the lowest anxiety level. In the 8th grade, the results are vice versa. Achievement level is defined by the type of school. It is concluded that the perceived achievement level within a small social context is responsible for emotional reactions. This is in accordance with reference group theory.
What will become of anxious elementary school pupils?
Zeitschrift-fur-Entwicklungspsychologie-und-Padagogische-Psychologie;1979 Jul Vol 11(3) 261-271.
ABSTRACT 752 children were tested for school anxiety in Grades 2 and 3 and were divided into high, medium, and low-anxiety groups. Standardized achievement tests were administered 1 and 2 yrs later. Three years after anxiety testing, configurational frequency analysis with school anxiety, socioeconomic status, and sex as predictors and type of school as criterion, generated 5 predictor types--3 related to academic success and 2 to failure. Multiple ANOVA showed no significant interactions, but there were strong main effects of the predictors on the standardized achievement test scores. Using several criteria, it was possible to distinguish the highly anxious Ss as a fairly homogeneous group with limited academic success.
School dissatisfaction yesterday and today: A differential cohort effect.
Schwarzer,-Ralf; Royl,-Wolfgang
Zeitschrift-fur-Entwicklungspsychologie-und-Padagogische-Psychologie;1979 Oct Vol 11(4) 372-376.
ABSTRACT Compared 2 cohorts (1975 and 1977) of 8th graders in traditional schools with 2 similar cohorts from comprehensive schools. The 1975 cohort showed a higher dissatisfaction for the traditional schools, while the 1977 cohort showed no preference for either type of school. The significant interaction between cohort and type of school is interpreted as a differential cohort effect or as a Hawthorne effect.

Sequential prediction of academic success.
Zeitschrift-fur-Entwicklungspsychologie-und-Padagogische-Psychologie;1979 Apr Vol 11(2) 170-180.
ABSTRACT Predicting academic achievement from earlier data for a future measurement point disregards any possible treatment effects during this period. The more academic achievement depends on task-specific prerequisites, however, the less useful long-term prediction will be. Path analysis of data from 714 Ss followed from Grades 4 through 6 indicated that the direct causal effect of initial learner characteristics in Grade 4 decreased over time. Specific prerequisites were the best single predictors of academic achievement. However, the indirect causal effects of initial learner characteristics on achievement in Grades 5 and 6 were higher than expected. Findings are discussed with respect to the quality of instruction as a determinant of learner processes.
Changes in test anxiety in comprehensive schools and traditional schools.
Schwarzer,-Ralf; Royl,-Wolfgang
Psychologie-in-Erziehung-und-Unterricht;1979 Vol 26(5) 259-266.
ABSTRACT Tested the change of mean scores in test anxiety of students in different secondary school types. Emphasis was placed on a comparison of comprehensive schools with the traditional tripartite school system ( Hauptschule, Realschule, Gymnasium ). At the beginning of the secondary level (5th grade) anxiety mean scores were distributed parallel to achievement distribution. The highest mean was found in the Hauptschule, the lowest in the Gymnasium, whereas Realschule and comprehensive school scores were in between. Three years later, Ss in comprehensive schools showed the lowest anxiety mean score. This effect remained stable even if sex, socioeconomic status, manifest anxiety, and social desirability were held constant. Results are interpreted on the basis of reference group theory.

The secular acceleration of PSB-intelligence.
Royl,-Wolfgang; Schwarzer,-Ralf
Diagnostica;1976 Vol 22(3) 99-109.
ABSTRACT Reports evidence for "secular acceleration" of intelligence measured by the Prufsystem fur Schul- und Bildungsberatung (PSB) of W. Horn (1969). New norms are presented for a number of samples. The main sample consisted of 1,032 5th-grade students who were between 10 yrs 4 mo and 11 yrs old when tested in 1973-1974. Mean scores of this sample exceeded those obtained by Horn 5 yrs earlier on subscales 1-8 but were lower on subscales 9 and 10. Regular revision of norms of intelligence and other tests is suggested.

Test anxiety, socio-economic status, and scholastic achievement.
Psychologie-in-Erziehung-und-Unterricht;1975 Vol 22(1) 16-22.
ABSTRACT Administered to 1,369 4th graders a German version of the Test Anxiety Scale for Children. When Ss were classified into 5 groups by social class (as indicated by the father's occupation), anxiety rose consistently for boys, and even more for girls, with lower social class. Lower grades in German and mathematics were significantly associated with greater anxiety, especially for girls.


Homepage of Health Psychology Department (in German, new web)


Homepage of Health Psychology Department (in German, extended web)

Last Update: 11. Mai 08