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Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale


R. Schwarzer and M. Jerusalem (1995)

Background and Development:

The GSE is a 10-item scale designed to assess optimistic self-beliefs used to cope with a variety of demands in life. The scale was designed to assess self efficacy, i.e., the belief that one’s actions are responsible for successful outcomes. The scaled score for each question ranges from 1 to 4. Higher scores indicate stronger patient’s belief in self-efficacy. The scale was originally developed by Jerusalem
and Schwarzer in 1981 in Germany and has been translated into many languages.  Studies have shown that the GSE has high reliability, stability, and construct validity (Leganger et al. 2000; Schwarzer, Mueller, & Greenglass 1999). The scale was found to be configurally equivalent across 28 nations, and it forms only one global dimension (Leganger et al 2000.; Scholz et al. 2002). Cronbach alpha ranges from 0.75 to 0.94 across a number of different language versions (Rimm and Jerusalem 1999; Luszczynska et al. 2005).  Relations between the GSE and other social cognitive variables (intention, implementation of intentions, outcome expectations, and self-regulation) are high and confirm the validity of the scale (Luszczynska et al. 2005).

Assessment in Elderly Populations:

The GSE has been tested in a wide age range.

Assessment in Minority Populations:

The GSE has been translated into numerous languages and tested in populations around the world.  The reliability and validity of these translations are also very high.  Sholz et al. (2002) found that the GSE is configurally equivalent across cultures and confirm that it corresponds to only one globally consistent underlying dimension.

Subsequent Studies:

The GSE has been used extensively around the world.  Several citations are found below..

Design Strengths and Weaknesses:

Consisting of only 10 items, the GSE is easy to administer and interpret.  The scale measures one global dimension of self-efficacy with high reliability and validity.

Contact Information:

The GSE in English and Estonian can be found in the Appendix to Rimm and Jerusalem (1999).


Bosscher, Rudolf J; Smit, Johannes H. Confirmatory factor analysis of the General Self-Efficacy Scale. Behaviour Research and Therapy. Vol 36(3) Mar 1998, 339-343.

Leganger, Anette; Kraft, Pal; Røysamb, Espen. Perceived self-efficacy in health behavior research: Conceptualisation, measurement and correlates. Psychology & Health. Vol 15(1) Feb 2000, 51-69.

Luszczynska, Aleksandra; Scholz, Urte; Schwarzer, Ralf. The general self-efficacy scale: Multicultural validation studies.  Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied. Vol 139(5) Sep 2005, 439-457.

Rimm, Halliki; Jerusalem, Matthias. Adaptation and validation of an Estonian version of the General Self-Efficacy Scale (ESES). Anxiety, Stress & Coping: An International Journal. Vol 12(3) Nov 1999, 329-345.

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

Schwarzer, Ralf; Bassler, Judith; Kwiatek, Patricia; Schroder, Kerstin; et al. 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. Vol 46(1) Jan 1997, 69-88.

Schwarzer, Ralf; Born, Aristi; Iwawaki, Saburo; Lee, Young-Min; et al. The assessment of optimistic self-beliefs: Comparison of the Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, and Korean versions of the General Self-Efficacy scale. Psychologia: An International Journal of Psychology in the Orient. Vol 40(1) Mar 1997, 1-13.

Schwarzer, R and M Jerusalem (1995) Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale.  In: Weinman, J, S Wright, and M Johnson (eds.) Measures in health psychology: A user's portfolio, Causal and control beliefs.  pp. 35-37, Windsor England: NFER-NELSON.

Scholz, Urte; Dona, Benicio Gutierrez; Sud, Shonali; Schwarzer, Ralf. Is general self-efficacy a universal construct? Psychometric findings from 25 countries. European Journal of Psychological Assessment. Vol 18(3) 2002, 242-251.

Zhang, Jian Xin; Schwarzer, Ralf. Measuring optimistic self-beliefs: A Chinese adaptation of the General Self-Efficacy Scale. Psychologia: An International Journal of Psychology in the Orient. Vol 38(3) Sep 1995, 174-181.

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