Dr. Albert Bandura

Biography and Career of Dr. Albert Bandura

Albert Bandura was born in 1924 in Mundare, Alberta, Canada. He grew up in a very small town and knew early he was going to have to make his own way in the world. He worked up in Alaska after finishing high school doing roadwork. From here, he made his way as student at the University of British Columbia. While at school, he took a course in psychology and from there became dedicated to the psychology field. A survey conducted at the turn of the century ranked Dr. Bandura as the fourth frequently cited psychologist after B.F. Skinner, Freud, and Piaget. He was ranked as the most cited living psychologist as well.

After graduating from British Columbia with honors, he then obtained a master’s degree from the University of Iowa, a leading school in theoretical psychology at that time. From there, Dr. Bandura obtained his PhD at Iowa in 1952. His faculty advisor was Arthur Benton, and his time at Iowa gave him access to leading theorists of the day. After school, he worked at the Wichita Guidance Center to complete his post-doctoral internship. From there, he accepted a year’s long teaching position at Stanford, where he is still a faculty member. While at Stanford, Dr. Bandura was awarded the David Star Jones Chair of Social Psychology of the Psychology Department. He spent 10 years as the dean of the Psychology Department and in 2010 became a professor emeritus at the University.

Self-Efficacy Theory

While at Stanford, he became the dean of the Psychology Department and contributed much to the field of psychology. He is known for his work in the field of aggressive behavior, social interactions and self-efficacy theory. His work led to violent scenes of with children being banned in the movie and video industry. He testified in Congress on this issue, using his Bobo doll experiments as the basis for his new theory. He also identified new responses to aggressive behaviors.

From there, he did work into how social beings relate to their environment leading to his social cognitive theory. He became interested in researching how interactions with one’s environment effect their future actions. He also investigated how people who commit aggressive actions live with their selves. From all of this, Dr. Bandura became interested in how individuals learn new behaviors. He investigated how a group of snake phobic people learned to deal with this phobia. He was interested in why some people were able to change their response and others could not.

This led to the formation of his self-efficacy theory and its future incorporation into nursing theory. His self-efficacy theory established the factors that cause a high or low level of self-efficacy. Those with low levels of self-efficacy will have the most difficult time changes behaviors and facing difficulties during their life. Those with high self-efficacy will have the easiest time changing behaviors and facing up to life issues. Studies showed that those with high levels choose options that would never occur to those who have low self-efficacy theory. He also showed that persons with high self esteem could still have a low self-efficacy level.

The health field often involves a client needed to undergo major life chances. Assessing their self- efficacy level and their factors provides a clear path for the clinician to support the client in their efforts. Nursing theorists have begun developing new ways of patient teaching and nurse education based on Dr. Bandura’s theory that are more effective. His theories have helped all throughout the health industry and education fields.


Dr. Bandura has received many awards during his lifetime. He has been named an Officer of the Order of Canada which makes him a knight of Canada. The nursing theorist has received 16 honorary doctorates, including from the Universities of Greece, Spain and the United Kingdom. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received the Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology Award from the American Psychological Association. In 1999, Dr. Bandura received the Thorndike Award for Distinguished Contributions of Psychology to Education. In 2001, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy. Other awards include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Western Psychological Association, the Gold Medal Award from the American Psychological Foundation, and the James McKeen Cattell Award from the American Psychological Society, all prestigious awards.


During his lifetime, Dr. Bandura has published over 190 research articles in professional psychological, health care and educational journals. His first article was based on his doctor’s thesis. He has also published 11 major books. His most famous are Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control and Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory. A complete list of his published works can be found here organized by year.

Dr. Bandura continues to be active in his field, teaching and giving speeches on his psychological topics of interest. Many of his talks can be found online through such mediums as Facebook and other streaming sites and on Stanford’s websites. Br. Bandura is married and has also raised two daughters while working on his career in psychology.