Day-to-day mastery and self-efficacy changes during a smoking quit attempt: Two studies

Lisa M. Warner, Gertraud Stadler, Janina Lüscher, Nina Knoll, Sibylle Ochsner, Rainer Hornung, Urte Scholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: In social-cognitive theory it is hypothesized that mastery experiences (successfully implementing behaviour change) are a source of self-efficacy, and self-efficacy increases the opportunity for experiencing mastery. Vicarious experiences (seeing others succeed) are suggested as another source of self-efficacy. However, the hypothesis of this reciprocal relationship has not been tested using a day-to-day design.

Design: This article reports findings from two intensive longitudinal studies, testing the reciprocal relationship of self-efficacy and its two main sources within the naturally occurring process of quitting smoking (without intervention). Smokers (Study 1: N = 100 smokers in smoker-non-smoker couples (1787 observations); Study 2; N = 81 female (1401 observations) and N = 79 male smokers (1328 observations) in dual-smoker couples) reported their mastery experiences (not smoking the entire day; in Study 2, mastery experience of partner served as vicarious experience) and smoking-specific self-efficacy for 21 days after a self-set quit date.

Methods: Time-lagged multilevel analyses were conducted using change-predicting-change models.

Results: Increases in mastery experiences predicted changes in self-efficacy, and increases in self-efficacy predicted changes in mastery experiences in Study 1. Study 2 replicated these results and showed contagion effects (partners’ mastery on individuals’ mastery, and partners’ self-efficacy on individuals’ self-efficacy), but found no evidence for a link between vicarious experiences (partners’ mastery experiences) and individuals’ self-efficacy.

Conclusions: This article demonstrates that mastery experiences and self-efficacy show a reciprocal relationship within smokers during a quit attempt in a day-to-day design, as well as contagion effects in couples when both partners try to quit simultaneously.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-386
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date15 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • social-cognitive theory
  • sources of self-efficacy
  • couples
  • daily diary
  • ecological momentary assessment
  • intensive longitudinal


Dive into the research topics of 'Day-to-day mastery and self-efficacy changes during a smoking quit attempt: Two studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this