Original Publication
Open Access

Critical Synthesis Package: General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE)

Published: October 9, 2013 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9576

Included in this publication:

  • Critical Analysis of the General Self-Efficacy Scale.pdf
  • General Self-Efficacy Scale.doc

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications. It is also part of a discontinued collection that focused on the presentation of health sciences education assessment tools and their reported validity data.


This Critical Synthesis Package contains: (1) a Critical Analysis of the psychometric properties and the application to health science education of the General Self-Efficacy (GSE) scale, and (2) a copy of the GSE instrument and the scoring instructions developed by Ralf Schwarzer, PhD.

The GSE is a one-dimensional self-report measure that features a 10-item questionnaire assessing the optimistic self-beliefs of individuals 12 years of age or older to cope with a variety of difficult demands in life. The response options are presented along a 4-point Likert-type scale for each item. A total score, on a scale of 10 to 40, or a mean scale score, on a scale of 1 to 4, can be calculated. Higher scores indicate higher perceived general self-efficacy, lower scores indicate lower perceived general self-efficacy. The total and mean GSE scores found in different populations like heterogeneous German adults, German high school students, and American adults are 29 or 2.9 respectively. The GSE was used in only one health care education study involving nursing students. The internal consistency of the measure in this population had a Cronbach’s alpha value of 0.85. The GSE has been shown to be positively correlated with outcomes like attention control, good health behaviors, positive well-being, and coping strategies. It was found to be negatively correlated with perceived stress and post-traumatic stress disorder. This scale has higher discriminant validity among individuals with lower GSE scores than higher GSE scores. The GSE has been validated by the developers in 31 countries and languages. It has been shown to have concurrent validity with Sherer’s general self-efficacy measure and Chen’s New general self-efficacy measure. The use of this instrument for health care education and education research shows promise, especially in the areas of effects of educational interventions and counseling seen as a change in general self-efficacy.

Educational Objectives

  1. To describe the purpose and basic properties of the General Self-Efficacy Scale (GES), including number of items and scales, and psychometric properties;
  2. To describe the application of the GES to the field of health sciences education;
  3. To evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the GES; and
  4. To provide the GES and supplemental materials to aid in its administration.

Author Information

  • Rashmi Kusurkar, MD, PhD: VUmc School of Medical Sciences

None to report.

None to report.


Kusurkar R. Critical synthesis package: general self-efficacy scale (GSE). MedEdPORTAL. 2013;9:9576. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9576