The Impact of Social Media on Athletes' Self-Efficacy
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The purpose of the study is to understand how social media affects athletes’ self-efficacy. With the ubiquitous presence of social media, it was hypothesized that via social media the source persuasion — one of the four sources that regulates self-efficacy — may be used as a way to encourage or discourage athletes in believing they have, or lack, the skills necessary to complete a task; therefore, persuading athletes to become more or less assured in their abilities despite past experiences. A phenomenological approach was utilized for this study to assist the researcher in conceptualizing ideas that might be dismissed by the boundaries of more traditional approaches. Semi-structured interviews were completed with 10 high-performance athletes in combative sports, and a cross-interview by-question analysis was performed on the data to determine the patterns and themes from the data. Results indicate that social media, and the way that athletes use social media, does have an effect on athletes’ self-efficacy, however the impact of self-efficacy depends on the social media usage.