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Preventing sports injuries requires behaviour change. Observational learning, or role modelling, is one way to develop self-efficacy, a key behavioural determinant. This premise underpins the social cognitive theory (SCT),1 and is the reason why role models have such a strong influence on behaviour. Most human behaviour is learned by observing others.2 Therefore, understanding role modelling and how to use it effectively could be important for sports injury prevention.
Self-efficacy refers to an individual's confidence in their ability to enact a particular behaviour. According to the SCT, people need sufficient self-efficacy before they adopt a particular behaviour. Individuals with high self-efficacy are more likely to engage in a given behaviour.3 In our study of what influences community-level Australian football (AF) and rugby league coaches’ and sports trainers’ intention to use concussion guidelines,4 self-efficacy was a significant predictor of intention.
Social modelling is one source of self-efficacy.5 Observing others can improve self-efficacy by altering perceptions of competency. Four processes govern observational learning: (1) attention: seeing and understanding …