Efficacy Beliefs and Well-being for Māori

Associate Professor Carla Houkamau, Dr Kiri Dell, Dr Jamie Neweth and Dr Jason Mika - IIRC20
Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Self-efficacy is a belief in one's ability to succeed in a specific situation or accomplish a task (Bandura, 1997) and is one of the most studied constructs in Western psychology, particularly concerning psychological well-being. A small number of studies links self-efficacy with positive outcomes for Māori specific domains. Albert Bandura conceived of family efficacy is as a form of collective efficacy defined as member’s beliefs in the capabilities of their family to work together to promote each other’s development and well-being. We see family efficacy in particular as a bridging concept between Bandura's theories and the Māori worldview and extend it to the Māori concept of whānau. To explore the connection between Māori identity, well-being and whānau, Houkamau, Sibley, and Henare (2019) developed the Whānau Efficacy Subscale within the Multidimensional Model of Māori Identity and Cultural Engagement (MMM-ICE). The Whānau Efficacy Subscale assesses the extent to which individuals believe their family can work together to overcome adversity and support each member to achieve collective goals. Whānau efficacy is rooted in mutual trust and solidarity, and expectations of support and that individuals will intervene on each other's behalf to help the overall family unit meet shared objectives. In this paper, we theorised that whānau efficacy would certainly be essential for Māori well-being outcomes. However, variability in the importance of whānau- versus self-efficacy may depend on personal collective or communal orientation (that is how far individuals consider other people's needs and feelings when making decisions or evaluating their psychological well-being). As such, we hypothesised that whānau efficacy may be more important for well-being outcomes for Māori higher on communal orientation. In this presentation, we draw on data gathered from Te Rangahau o Te Tuakiri Māori me Ngā Waiaro ā-Pūtea | The Māori Identity and Financial Attitudes Study (MIFAS). The MIFAS is a nationwide study that examines the relationship between Māori identity and economic attitudes and values. The entire MIFAS comprises over 340 individual items, takes approximately 30–45 min to complete and embeds a short, 40-item version of the MMM-ICE. Apart from questions explicitly focused on financial literacy and attitudes towards business and economic activity, this study also examines a range of health behaviours and attitudes towards the self and society. Information about the sample and methods has been described elsewhere (Houkamau, Henare & Sibley, 2019). Analyses indicated that for over 6000 of this study respondents, controlling for personal and demographic factors self-efficacy and whānau (immediate and wider family) efficacy were significantly positively related to personal well-being on all well-being measures. Cultural efficacy was significantly positively related to a sense of community but had no impact on the remaining well-being measures. Counter to our prediction; communal orientation did not impact the relationship between whānau efficacy and well-being. Unexpectedly, high self-efficacy and high communal orientation were significantly associated with higher self-rated evaluations of physical health. However, those high on cultural efficacy and high on communal orientation reported lower self-rated evaluations of physical health. We propose communal orientation may enhance well-being for Māori by promoting a sense of community and belonging however in an individualistic society it may be challenging for those high on communal orientation to self-care, particularly if they find it hard to balance their time for themselves with obligations to community and whānau.