Journal of Social Change


Beyond their newfound emancipation and opportunities for self-discovery, college students in the young adult stage of development are expected to achieve balance between their autonomous new world and the impending pressures of postgraduation life. The college student must not only reconcile issues related to identity formation, goal pursuits, and career exploration, but is expected to begin the process of identifying and developing the skills required to address salient social themes. How students establish competency beliefs, negotiate controllability over future outcomes, and appraise challenges have deep implications in their capacity to discover their social change “voice.” The following discussion proposes a triadic framework that highlights the inextricable connections between self-efficacy, attribution, and appraisal as they relate to the capacity of college students to effect social change. As future leaders, role models, and visionaries preparing to transition into an increasingly complex world, an exigent need exists to create opportunities for (a) enhancing the self-efficacy beliefs that underpin the capacity to transform perceptions, (b) formulating attributions that foster perceived controllability over objectives, and (c) promoting appraisals that induce the motivation to approach challenges. Perspectives discussed in this paper have implications for students, parents, educators, and administrators to consider best practices for cultivating self-efficacy, attribution, and appraisal abilities that will facilitate future social change agency long after the college years.