One does not always have to be personally involved in practice and guided mastery of tasks to develop self-efficacy. Modeling is another mechanism for increasing self-efficacy. Social modeling involves observing others engaged in the desired behaviors. When seeking employment, we can observe and learn from others how to read an employment ad, how to use public transportation, and how to act on an interview.
When models are used in training sessions, they are most effective when the model is as similar to the participant as possible. Similarity between the model and the observer makes the accomplishment of desired goal seem possible—''if this person can do it, so can I.'' For persons with a disability and/or chronic illness, a model with a similar disability and chronic illness would be more effective than one without.
Another consideration for African Americans is that the model be someone with similar values and worldview. As discussed in chapter 3, cultural values such as interdependence, communalism, and spirituality are important to many African Americans and may be useful as criteria for selecting models. In this setting, perceived similarity and the relationship one has with the model may be as important a consideration as technical expertise. Here, for example, having a model demonstrate what she did to seek employment may be more effective than having an employment counselor provide job-seeking tips. All things being equal, an effective model for an African American person with a disability would be another African American with the same type of disability and values.
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