INTRODUCTION Assertiveness is a mode of personal behaviour and

INTRODUCTION

ASSERTIVENESS AND
SELF-EFFICACY AMONG WOMEN

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

1.     
Assertiveness

Assertiveness
is a skill regularly referred to in social and communication skills training.
Many of us are taught that we should always please and/or defer to others, that
it is not nice to consider our own needs above those of others. Assertiveness
is a mode of personal behaviour and communication characterized by a
willingness to stand up for one’s needs and interests in an open and direct way.
Most definitions of assertiveness emphasize direct expression of feelings,
desires and thoughts in interpersonal contexts. Definitions of assertive behaviour
put an emphasis on individual rights.  Alberta
and Emmons (1990) 1 stated that “assertive behaviour promotes
equality in human relationships, enabling us to act in our own best interests,
to stand up for ourselves without undue anxiety, to express honest feelings
comfortably, to exercise personal rights without denying the rights of others.
Assertiveness as a social skill is a construct which has a number of different
dimensions, including the ability to express oneself without anxiety or
aggression in different situations (M.
Bouvard, et al., 1999).2 The assertive person stands up for things that
matter to him or her while at the same time respecting the things that matter
to others (Zimmerman and Luecke, 2010)3. Assertiveness
has also been defined as the process of direct and appropriate communication of
a person’s needs, wants and opinions without punishing or putting down others (Arrindell
and Ende, 1985)4. When an
individual is unable to be assertive,
it leads to Depression which is anger turned inward, a sense of
being helpless, hopeless, or of having no control over your life. Resentment
anger at others for manipulating or taking advantage of you. Frustration why
did I allow that to happen? Temper/violence, if you can’t express anger
appropriately, it may build up. Before you decide to act assertively in a given
situation, you have to decide if you can live with the consequences.

Assertiveness
encompasses multidimensional aspects of human expression, including behaviour,
cognition, and affect. Behaviourally assertive individuals are able to express
their emotions, defend their goals, and establish favourable interpersonal
relationships (Bupas’ Health Information Team, 2008 5). Assertiveness is
about effective communication and this does not just mean choosing the right
words to say in a given situation. Tone of voice, intonation, volume, facial
expression, gesture and body language all play a part in the message you are
sending to the other person, and unless all parts of the equation match, you
will be sending a garbled message (Bishop, 2000)6. Although
assertive behaviour usually will result in a positive response, some people
might react negatively to it. If you’re planning to try assertive behaviour,
remember that the other person is used to your behaving in a certain way, and
may be confused when you change your communication style. Therefore it is
better to clarify the confusion and tell what you are trying to do.

1.2Assertiveness Training

It
is very essential to be assertive. As it is a unique skill, assertiveness can
be trained. The training helps improve interpersonal skills and inculcate a
sense of self-respect. It is bases on the principal that every individual have
the right to express their opinions and interest in a respectful way without
sounding arrogant and strident. When we don’t feel like we can express
ourselves openly, we may become depressed, anxious, or angry, and our sense of
self-worth may suffer. Our relationships with other people are also likely to
suffer because we may become resentful when they don’t read our minds for what
we are not assertive enough to be telling them. There are no specific rules of
what assertive behaviour is; rather, it is specific to the particular time and
situation. In other words, behaviour that is appropriately assertive for one
person in one situation may be either excessively passive or too aggressive for
someone else in a different situation. Finally, assertiveness training is based
on the idea that assertiveness is not inborn, but is a learned behaviour.
Although some people may seem to be more naturally assertive than others,
anyone can learn to be more assertive. Although these ideas may sound simple
and straightforward, behaving assertively can sometimes be difficult for almost
anyone, and is often impossible for some people. For this reason, assertiveness
training focuses not only on talking about the importance of assertiveness, but
also on learning assertive behaviours and practicing these behaviors with the
help of a trainer or a therapist.

As
said earlier, assertive behaviours can be misunderstood as arrogant or bossy
behaviour especially among women. Therefore it absolutely essential to
differentiate between assertive and aggressive behaviour. People
sometimes confuse assertiveness with aggression, believing that assertiveness
training might make them pushy or inconsiderate of others. In fact,
assertiveness can be thought of as a middle point between passivity and
aggression. In interpersonal situations, passive behaviour occurs when you
focus on the needs and desires of another person, but ignore your own needs and
wishes. While
cognitively and affectively assertive individuals can appropriately deal with
both positive and negative emotions (Wint, 2004)7. Assertiveness
training is aimed to help the individual change their self-perception, to
increase the individual’s assertiveness, to express the individual’s emotions
and thoughts adequately and to build self- confidence further. (Sarkov
et al., 2013)8. Aggressive behaviour occurs when you force your own
needs on others whereas Assertive behaviour involves expressing your own way of
seeing things, but in a way that is respectful of the other person. Although no
one can guarantee that the other person will like what you do or say, assertive
behaviour requires that the other person be treated with respect. Assertiveness
training can help not only those who tend to be overly passive in interpersonal
situations, but also those who tend to be overly aggressive.

Joseph
Wolpe originally explored the use of assertiveness as a means of
“reciprocal inhibition” of anxiety, in his 1958 book on treating
neurosis; and it has since been commonly employed as an intervention in
behaviour therapy. Assertiveness Training (“AT”) was introduced by
Andrew Salter (1961) and popularized by Joseph Wolpe. Wolpe believed that a
person could not be both assertive and anxious at the same time, and thus being
assertive would inhibit anxiety. The goals of assertiveness training include.
Increased
awareness of personal rights. Differentiation between non-assertiveness and
assertiveness. Differentiation between passive–aggressiveness and
aggressiveness. Learning both verbal and non-verbal assertiveness skills. When
an individual is assertive they are free to express their feelings, thoughts,
and desires, they are “also able to initiate and maintain comfortable
relationships with other people”. They know their rights and has good
control of emotions. Assertive people are willing to
compromise with others, rather than always wanting their own way and tend to
have good self-esteem”

During
assertiveness training, a therapists help clients figure out
which interpersonal situations are troublesome, what all behaviour should one
keep a watch on. Once clients understand the importance
of assertive behaviour for their situation, therapists help them develop more
assertive behaviours. Role play and role reversal is the common technique used for
assertiveness training. A therapist gives supportive,
honest feedback after each role-play exercise in order to help the client
improve his or her skills. Assertiveness training focuses on both verbal and
nonverbal behaviour. Verbal behaviour is the content of a communication — in
other words, what is actually said. This includes expressing requests,
feelings, opinions, and limits. Nonverbal behaviour refers to the style of com
munication: eye contact, posture, tone and volume of speech, interpersonal
distance, and listening. Several techniques are used for assertiveness
training, One, called the broken-record technique, is useful for situations in
which another person will not acknowledge or accept your message. Another
technique, sometimes called fogging, is a method for denying requests or
disagreeing with someone while showing them that you nevertheless recognize and
respect that person’s position. In addition to teaching specific assertiveness
skills, the therapist can work with clients to help reduce anxiety and worry
through systematic desensitization, rational-emotive behaviour therapy, or
other techniques. As worry and anxiety are reduced, people will be more confident
and less worried or afraid. Some people are able to improve
their skills by reading books on assertiveness training and practicing the
exercises outlined in the books.

2.     
Self-efficacy

The
construct of self-efficacy introduced by Bandura (1977, 1986, 1997)9, refers
to a person’s conviction in his or her own capacity to perform successfully a
behaviour leading to a specific outcome. He differentiated between
self-efficacy and outcome expectancy, defining the last as a person’s belief
(estimation) about the likelihood of a given behaviour leading to a specific
outcome. He stated that self-efficacy is independent of outcome expectancy. Self
efficacy is considered the crucial precondition for behavioural change, since
it determines the initiation of coping behaviour.  Self-efficacy makes a difference in how
people feel, think and act (Schwarzer et al. 1999)10.

In
terms of feeling, low sense of self-efficacy is associated with helplessness,
depression, anxiety. Yet, it reflects low self-esteem and pessimistic thoughts
about personal accomplishments and development. In terms of thinking, a strong
sense of self-efficacy facilitates cognitive processes and performance in
various setting, such as quality of decision making. Moreover different levels
of self-efficacy can enhance or hamper the motivation to act. As matter of
fact, individuals with high self-efficacy choose to perform more challenging
tasks, set themselves higher goals and remain highly committed to them. In
terms of act, actions are anticipated in thoughts related to either optimistic
or pessimistic scenarios in line with high or low levels of self-efficacy. Once
an action has been taken, high self-efficacious persons invest more effort and
persist longer than those with low self-efficacy. Moreover self-efficacy also
allows people to select challenging settings, and create new situations.

According
to Bandura a sense of competence (self-efficacy) can be acquired by mastery
experience, it is based on experience, and on realistic sense of personal
strengths. Therefore it is different from positive illusions or unrealistic
optimism, as it does not lead to unreasonable risk taking; instead it leads to
daring behaviours that is within reach of people’s capabilities. Interestingly,
it has been found that self-efficacy is related to social skills (Moe &
Zeiss, 1982), and assertiveness (Lee, 1983, 1984), thus within the ENACT
project we would like to explore if there is any relations between self
efficacy and assertiveness, and related positive effect on negotiation
processes. According to Flammer (2001), People with higher perceived
self-efficacy to fulfil job functions consider a wide range of career options.
The construct of self-efficacy, which was introduced by Bandura, represents one
core aspect of his social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1977, 1997). “To reveal
our feelings frankly, and to use our own rights without neglecting other peoples’
rights, self- revelation is an impressing variable in peoples’ success
(Ibrahim, 2011) and the core of interpersonal relationships, and the key of
human relations”(Lin et al, 2004).

General
Self-Efficacy Scale 2.

Perceived
self-efficacy is the belief that one can perform a novel or difficult task, or
cope with adversity — in various domains of human functioning. The GSE is a
one-dimensional self-report questionnaire comprising of 10 items which assesses
optimistic self-beliefs of an individual to cope with a variety of difficult
demands in life. In contrast to other scales designed to assess optimism, the
GSE explicitly refers to “personal agency” or “personal action control” that is
the belief that one’s actions are responsible for successful outcomes. The
scale was originally developed in German by Jerusalem and Schwarzer in 1981,
and since then used in many studies with hundred thousands of participants aged
more than twelve years. It has been demonstrated that the GSE is reliable and
unidimensional across cultures (samples from 23 nations). The scale is
currently available in 31 languages, including Italian, Spanish and Turkish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

 

1.      Alberti,
R. E., & Emmons, M. L. (1990). Your perfect right: A guide to assertive
living (6th edn). San Luis Opispo, CA: Impact Publishers.

2.      Bouvard,
M., Arrindell, W. A., Guerin, J., Bouchard, C., Rion, A. C., Ducottet, E.,
& Cottraux, J. (1999). Psychometric appraisal of the Scale for
Interpersonal Behavior (SIB) in France. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 37,
741–762.

3.      Constance,
Z., & Richard, L. (2010). Asserting Yourself at Work. American Management
Association.

4.      Arrindell,
W. A., & Van der Ende, J. (1985). Cross-sample invariance of the structure
of selfreported distress and difficulty in assertiveness. Addictive Behaviour
Research and Theory,7,  205-243.

5.      Bupas   ‘health  
information   team.(2008):   cited in http://hcd2.bupa.co.ukfact_sheet               htm improving   _assertiveness.s.html,2008   how  
to assert yourself.mind.www.mind.org.UKaccessed2  January 2008.

6.      Bishop,
S. (2010). Develop your Assertiveness. New Delhi: Replica Press Private
Limited. 

7.      Wint.,
W. (2004) Assertiveness skills, http://www.tsuccess.dircom.couk/assertiveness
course.html.

8.      Sarkova.M.,,    Sleskova,B.,    Orosova,O., Madarasova.,  A, 
Zuzana,  G.,  Daniel., 
Klein. and,  Heuvel.,  W.(2013) 
Associations  between
assertiveness,  psychological  well-being, 
and  self-esteem  in 
adolescents. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 2013, 43, pp. 147–
154.

9.      Bandura
A. Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioural change. Psychological
Review 1977; 84: 191-215.

10.  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.

11.  Bandura
A. Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman 1997.

12.  Bandura
A. Health promotion from the perspective of social cognitive theory. Psychology
and Health 1998; 13: 623-649.  

13.  Flammer
A. Self-efficacy. Encyclopedia of social behavior 2001: 13812

14.  Moe,
K. O., & Zeiss, A. M. (1982). Measuring self-efficacy expectations for
social skills: A methodological inquiry. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 6,
191-205. Lee, C. (1983). Self-efficacy and behavior as predictors of subsequent
behavior in an assertiveness training programme. Behavior Research and Therapy,
21, 225-232.

15.  Lee,
C. (1984). Accuracy of efficacy and outcome expectations in predicting
performance in a simulated assertiveness task. Cognitive Therapy and Research,
8, 37-48.