General Perceived Self-Efficacy

Ralf Schwarzer, & Matthias Jerusalem (1993), rev. 2000

  1. I can always manage to solve difficult problems if I try hard enough.
  2. If someone opposes me, I can find the ways and means to get what I want.
  3. I am certain that I can accomplish my goals.
  4. I am confident that I could deal efficiently with unexpected events.
  5. Thanks to my resourcefulness, I can handle unforeseen situations.
  6. I can solve most problems if I invest the necessary effort.
  7. I can remain calm when facing difficulties because I can rely on my coping abilities.
  8. When I am confronted with a problem, I can find several solutions.
  9. If I am in trouble, I can think of a good solution.
  10. I can handle whatever comes my way.

Response format:
(1) not at all true, (2) barely true, (3) moderately true, (4) exactly true

Self-efficacy is commonly understood as being very specific; that is, one can have more or less firm self-beliefs in different domains or particular situations of functioning. But some researchers have also conceptualized a generalized sense of self-efficacy.

The general self-efficacy scale aims at a broad and stable sense of personal competence to deal efficiently with a variety of stressful situations. The German version of this scale was originally developed by Matthias Jerusalem and Ralf Schwarzer in 1981, first as a 20-item version and later as a reduced 10-item version (Jerusalem, & Schwarzer, 1986, 1992; Schwarzer, & Jerusalem, 1989). It has been used in numerous research projects, where it typically yielded internal consistencies between alpha = .75 and .90.

The scale is not only parsimonious and reliable, it has also proven valid in terms of convergent and discriminant validity. For example, it correlates positively with self-esteem and optimism and negatively with anxiety, depression and physical symptoms.

Previous studies are described in the international manual (Schwarzer, 1993), which includes not only the scale in English, German, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Hungarian, Turkish, Czech, and Slovak, but also the results of five studies conducted to examine the psychometric properties.

By confirmatory factor analyses it was found that the scale was unidimensional in all subsamples. Also, norms (T-scores) based on a sample of 1,660 German adults are available. The international manual describes, among others, retest reliabilities over one- and two-year periods and different kinds of validity, such as experimental, criterion-related and predictive validity. Some information about validity and T-norms can be found here.

Data of more than 18,000 respondents can be downloaded as a zipped SPSS-file.


    Bäßler, J. & Schwarzer, R. (1996). Evaluación de la autoeficacia: Adaptación española de la escala de autoeficacia general [Measuring generalized self-beliefs: A Spanish adaptation of the General Self-Efficacy scale]. Ansiedad y Estrés, 2(1), 1-8.

    Jerusalem, M., & Schwarzer, R. (1992). Self-efficacy as a resource factor in stress appraisal processes. In R. Schwarzer (Ed.), Self-efficacy: Thought control of action (pp. 195-213). Washington, DC: Hemisphere.

    Mittag, W., & Schwarzer, R. (1993). Interaction of employment status and self-efficacy on alcohol consumption: A two-wave study on stressful life transitions. Psychology & Health, 8, 77-87.

    Schwarzer, R. (ed.) (1992). Self–efficacy. Thought control of action. Washington, DC: Hemisphere.

    Schwarzer, R. (1993). Measurement of perceived self-efficacy. Psychometric scales for cross-cultural research. Berlin, Germany: Freie Universität Berlin.

    Schwarzer, R. (1994). Optimism, vulnerability, and self-beliefs as health-related cognitions: A systematic overview. Psychology and Health: An International Journal, 9, 161-180.

    Schwarzer, R. (1997). General Perceived Self-Efficacy in 14 Cultures. Internet preprint.

    Schwarzer, R., Bäßler, J., Kwiatek, P., Schröder, K., & Zhang, J. X. (1997). The assessment of optimistic self-beliefs: Comparison of the German, Spanish, and Chinese versions of the General Self-Efficacy scale. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 46 (1), 69-88.

    Schwarzer, R. & Born, A. (1997). Optimistic self-beliefs: Assessment of general perceived self-efficacy in thirteen cultures. World Psychology, 3 (1-2), 177-190.

    Schwarzer, R., Born, A., Iwawaki, S., Lee, Y.M., Saito, E. & Yue, S. (1997). The Assessment of Optimistic Self-Beliefs: Comparison of the Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, and Korean Versions of the General Self-Efficacy Scale. Psychologia, 40, 1-13.

    Schwarzer, R., & Jerusalem, M. (1995). Generalized Self-Efficacy scale. In J. Weinman, S. Wright, & M. Johnston, Measures in health psychology: A user’s portfolio. Causal and control beliefs (pp. 35-37). Windsor, UK: NFER-NELSON.

    Schwarzer, R., Mueller, J. & Greenglass, E. (1999). Assessment of perceived
    general self-efficacy on the Internet: Data collection in cyberspace. Anxiety,
    Stress, and Coping, 12, 145-161.

    Schwarzer, R., & Scholz, U. (2000). Cross-Cultural Assessment of Coping Resources: The General Perceived Self-Efficacy Scale. Paper presented at the First Asian Congress of Health Psychology: Health Psychology and Culture, Tokyo, Japan.

    Zhang, J. X., & Schwarzer, R. (1995). Measuring optimistic self-beliefs: A Chinese adaptation of the General Self-Efficacy scale. Psychologia, 38 (3), 174-181.