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Self-esteem vs. Self-efficacy: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 24, 2024
Self-esteem is the overall sense of self-worth or personal value, while self-efficacy is the belief in one's ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task.

Key Differences

Self-esteem refers to how much a person values themselves, reflecting a general feeling of self-worth or personal value. In contrast, self-efficacy is concerned specifically with one's belief in their ability to successfully execute behaviors required to produce specific performances.
Self-esteem is a broader evaluation of one's own worth, while self-efficacy is a more focused and task-specific confidence. High self-esteem means feeling good about oneself, whereas high self-efficacy means feeling capable of performing a specific task.
Self-esteem doesn't necessarily correlate with the ability to perform a task, as one can have high self-esteem but low self-efficacy in certain areas. Conversely, self-efficacy is a more accurate predictor of one's ability to achieve goals or tasks in specific domains.
Self-esteem is more static and can be influenced by various external factors like social status or physical appearance. Self-efficacy, however, is dynamic and can change with new experiences or information, especially regarding one's competence in particular areas.
Enhancing self-esteem involves improving one's overall sense of self-worth, while increasing self-efficacy involves building confidence in specific abilities or tasks, often through mastery experiences, social modeling, and positive feedback.

Comparison Chart


General sense of self-worth or personal value.
Belief in one's ability to succeed in specific tasks.


Broad, encompasses overall self-worth.
Specific, focused on particular tasks or abilities.

Correlation with Performance

May not directly correlate with task performance.
Strongly correlates with performance in specific areas.

Influencing Factors

Influenced by external factors like social status.
Influenced by mastery experiences and feedback.

Stability and Dynamics

Relatively static, slow to change.
Dynamic, changes with new experiences or information.

Self-esteem and Self-efficacy Definitions


One's overall valuation of their self-worth.
With high self-esteem, she confidently faced her critics.


A person's perception of their ability to reach a goal.
High self-efficacy led him to try challenging tasks.


A reflection of one's own perceived worth.
Therapy helped her rebuild her self-esteem.


Belief in one’s competence to perform specific activities.
Learning a new language improved her self-efficacy.


A subjective measure of one's respect for themselves.
Self-esteem affects how people interact in social settings.


The extent to which one feels capable of managing a situation.
Effective training boosted the team's self-efficacy.


An individual's sense of personal value and self-respect.
Positive feedback can significantly boost a child's self-esteem.


Confidence in one's ability to achieve a specific task.
His self-efficacy was evident in how he tackled complex problems.


The degree to which a person feels confident and valuable.
His self-esteem soared after the successful presentation.


A measure of one's belief in their own competence.
Her self-efficacy grew with each successful project completion.


Pride in oneself; self-respect.


Extent or strength of one's belief in one's own ability to complete tasks and reach goals.


Confidence in one's own worth; self-respect.


The holding a good opinion of one's self; self-complacency.


A feeling of pride in yourself


The quality of being worthy of esteem or respect;
It was beneath his dignity to cheat
Showed his true dignity when under pressure


What defines self-efficacy?

It's the belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations.

How do self-esteem and self-efficacy differ?

Self-esteem is about overall self-worth, while self-efficacy is task-specific confidence.

Is self-esteem linked to success?

High self-esteem can contribute to overall happiness but doesn’t guarantee success.

What is self-esteem?

It's a person's overall self-assessment of their worth or value.

Does self-efficacy affect performance?

Yes, high self-efficacy often leads to better performance in specific tasks.

What factors influence self-esteem?

Factors like upbringing, social environment, and personal achievements.

Does culture affect self-esteem?

Yes, cultural norms and values can significantly influence self-esteem.

Can a person have high self-esteem but low self-efficacy?

Yes, one can value themselves highly but doubt their abilities in specific areas.

Is self-efficacy constant?

No, it can vary depending on new experiences and learning.

Does age affect self-efficacy?

Self-efficacy can change at any age, influenced by ongoing experiences and learning.

How can one improve their self-esteem?

Through positive self-talk, achievements, and therapy.

How to increase self-efficacy?

By gaining experience, learning from role models, and receiving positive feedback.

Can education impact self-efficacy?

Yes, education and skills training can greatly improve self-efficacy.

How do relationships affect self-esteem?

Positive relationships can enhance self-esteem, while toxic ones can harm it.

What contributes to self-efficacy?

Past successes, observing others, and encouragement can boost self-efficacy.

Can self-esteem change over time?

Yes, self-esteem can fluctuate based on life experiences and personal growth.

Is self-efficacy linked to mental health?

Yes, higher self-efficacy is often associated with better mental health.

Are self-esteem issues common?

Yes, many people struggle with self-esteem at various points in life.

Can self-esteem be too high?

Excessively high self-esteem can lead to narcissism and other issues.

What role does self-efficacy play in motivation?

High self-efficacy can increase motivation and persistence in tasks.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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