A theory shows an organized way of understanding happening events, behaviors, and situations. The generality or the broad application of any theory is very significant. Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) is a behavioral theory which involves the cognitive formulation of social learning theory. It was derived by Albert Bandura first as Social Learning Theory (SLT) in the 1960s. Bandura puts it that this theory explains how humans behave in three ways; a dynamic, reciprocal model which focus on personal factors, influences from the environment, and behavior continually interact. Social Cognitive Theory makes use of concepts and processes from models of change of behavior like cognitive, behavioristic and emotional models. In SCT, people not only learn through their own experiences but also those of others and their consequences. Because the research aims at increasing the percentage of on-time stats for health solutions and surgeries, SCT helps in determining the factors that may help solve the research problem. It aims at maintaining a behavior rather than just initiating it which is a valid goal in public health.
The primary understanding of this theory is that its development is mainly based on a social context with a tremendous reciprocal interaction of the person, environment, and behavior. A unique feature of this theory with other theories is that it emphasizes on both internal and external social reinforcement. It considers where and how individuals acquire behaviors and how they maintain them. It also finds the past experiences of a person and determines whether any other behavioral action will occur. Consideration of past experiences help in determining what behavior to expect and different expectancies and shows whether a person will behave in a specific response and the reason why a person acts so (Font & Jones, 2016).
This theory has five constructs that grew as part of Social Cognitive Theory which has shown how individuals regulate how they behave by controlling and reinforcing themselves to achieve goal-directed behavior that can be maintained over time. First, there is Reciprocal Determinism which is the main idea which involves the interaction of people following the environment and the behavior. Second is Behavioral Capability, which consists of an individual’s real ability to behave in a specific manner through necessary understanding and skills by knowing what to do and how to do it.
Observational learning means people can witness some behaviors by other people and copy them. The most common way of this construct is through ‘modeling.’ If people see a demonstration of behavior, they are capable of completing the behavior. Reinforcements involve the responses of behavior both internally and externally and the capability of letting go or continuing with the behavior. They can be positive or negative. Expectations too is a construct which yearns for the consequences of a person’s behavior. The results can either be health-related or non-health-related (Ng & Lucianetti, 2016).
Since this research is generally based on health and how surgeries can be improved, the behavioral character of patients and health care providers is much effective. One of the significant issues in the research is a delay. According to SCT, a delay is behavioral, and it can be changed and maintained. It is the same thing with professionalism which includes missing items. For this problem to succeed, it is necessary to learn the behaviors of the patients and the health care providers, how to improve and how to maintain them: This can be done through the five constructs of SCT including observational learning.
Social Cognitive Theory widely involves some levels of the social, ecological model while addressing change of behavior in individuals. It influences and maintains a specific behavior in people. It emphasizes the individual and the environment which significantly helps in determining behaviors. It is often used in promoting health and health activities.
Font, X., Garay, L., & Jones, S. (2016). A social cognitive theory of sustainability empathy. Annals of Tourism Research, 58, 65-80.
Ng, T. W., & Lucianetti, L. (2016). Within-individual increases in innovative behavior and creative, persuasion, and change self-efficacy over time: A social–cognitive theory perspective. Journal of Applied Psychology, 101(1), 14.