Social Cognitive Theory Essay

2050 words - 8 pages

Social Cognitive Theory

Nowadays, many people both young and old tend to engage in health compromising behaviors. Some of which include: alcohol abuse, drug abuse, smoking, and the specific topic interest condom use, or maybe in this case condom non-use. From these particular behaviors a question poses: Why do people engage in health compromising behaviors? There are in fact many theories or processes that can give explanations to this particular question. One theory that can be related to this specific question is the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT).
Dr. Albert Bandura originated social Cognitive Theory in the early 1960's. It actually stems from the Social Learning Theory. It has origins in the discipline of psychology, with its early foundation being laid by behavioral and social psychologists. There are three main purposes for this theory: (1) to understand and predict individual and group behavior, (2) to identify methods in which behavior can be modified or changed, and (3) to be used in interventions aimed at personality development, behavior pathology, and health promotion (Stone, 1998).
There are six major concepts that are incorporated into the SCT. (Stone, 1998). The first concept that is discussed is reciprocal determinism. The concept implies that a person's behavior will determine the aspects of their environment to which they are expose, and behavior is, in turn, modified by that environment. So…depending on the environment that the individual is in, it will determine what type of behavior will be performed. In the scenario, that particular environment will most likely predict what will happen next. They have been inseparable for the past six months. The second concept that is mentioned is symbolizing capability. It suggests that symbols serve as the mechanism for thought. Symbols provide the mechanism that allows for cognitive problem solving and engaging in foresightful action. The third concept associated with the SCT is vicarious capability. Vicarious processes refer to the human ability to learn not only from direct experience, but also from the observation of others. Observational learning allows one to develop an idea of how a new behavior is performed with actually performing the behavior oneself. Forethought capability is the fourth concept that is associated with the SCT. It implies that most human behavior is purposive and is regulated by this. Forethought is a person's capability to motivate themselves and guide their actions anticipatorily. It mentions that previous experiences create expectations of the outcome that will occur as a result of performing a behavior, before the behavior is performed. These expectations influence the likelihood that a behavior will be performed again. In the case of the scenario, this concept implies that if the two had been in this predicament prior to that specific time, then it is likely that they would already know what was going to happen. The fifth...

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