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Are self-efficacy beliefs and subjective task demand related to apathy in aging?

Published in Aging & mental health. 2014, vol. 18, no. 4, p. 521-530
Abstract Objective: Apathy, defined as a reduction in voluntary goal-directed behaviors (GDBs), is common in aging, but the processes underlying apathy are still unclear. Self-efficacy beliefs are likely to play a key role in GDBs, by influencing goal setting, perceived difficulty, and the necessary amount of effort to achieve goals. The aim of this study was to examine the relationships between apathy and perceived self-efficacy.Method: Sixty-three healthy elderly participants worked on a memory task without fixed performance standard ('do your best') and indicated perceived difficulty and effort investment after performing the task. They also completed two short scales assessing general self-efficacy and negative mood. In addition, a close relative of each participant completed the Initiative Interest Scale, a new questionnaire assessing apathetic manifestations in aging.Results: The main results showed that subjective task demand (i.e., perceived difficulty and estimated effort) operated as a mediator between self-efficacy beliefs and apathy. These results suggest that elderly people with low self-efficacy beliefs who face a challenge judge the task to be highly difficult and effort demanding, which might result in GDB reduction.Conclusion: These results shed new light on the processes related to apathy in aging and open up an interesting prospect for psychological interventions.
Keywords Goal-directed behavior reductionGeneral self-efficacyPerceived difficultyEffort investment
PMID: 24286481
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Article (Published version) (202 Kb) - document accessible for UNIGE members only Limited access to UNIGE
Research groups Affective sciences
Geneva Motivation Lab
Unité de psychopathologie et neuropsychologie cognitive (UPNC)
(ISO format)
ESPOSITO, Fabienne, GENDOLLA, Guido H.E., VAN DER LINDEN, Martial. Are self-efficacy beliefs and subjective task demand related to apathy in aging?. In: Aging & mental health, 2014, vol. 18, n° 4, p. 521-530. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2013.856865 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:35981

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Deposited on : 2014-04-23

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