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Actively shaping a positive stress response: The moderation effect of stress mindset on the association between stressor intensity and distress and eustress

Bosman, M. (2019) Actively shaping a positive stress response: The moderation effect of stress mindset on the association between stressor intensity and distress and eustress.

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Abstract:Background: Psychological stress is a considerable problem in Western society as stressors are an inevitable part of life. One can distinguish between a distress response with negative effects and a eustress response with beneficial effects on health, cognition and wellbeing. Stressor intensity is a key factor in determining which stress response takes place, and stress mindset could be a useful resource in endorsing a eustress response. Moreover, a stressis-enhancing (SIE) mindset advocates the belief that experiencing stress has enhancing consequences for performance, while a stress-is-debilitating (SID) mindset appraises these consequences to be debilitating. The present study hypothesized that stressor intensity is more strongly related to eustress when having a SIE mindset and more strongly related to distress when having a SID mindset. Method: A convenience sample of 160 participants consisting out of students and non-students from the Dutch and German communities was taken. After exclusion, 72 students and 4 non-students were randomly assigned to three conditions: (1) SIE mindset condition, (2) SID mindset condition or (3) control condition. In an attempt to manipulate their stress mindset, participants in the former two conditions watched three informational videos advocating either a SIE or SID mindset over the course of one week. Results: Stress mindset was not found to be a significant moderator in the association between the intensity of stressors and distress nor in the association between the intensity of stressors and eustress. Still, outcomes did support the notion that stress mindsets can be manipulated over the short-term using informational videos. Conclusion: While some trends went into the expected direction, stress mindset was not found to have a significant moderation effect. Nevertheless, results indicated that stress mindsets are malleable and this may prove to become a useful tool in stress management interventions. Further research examining the role of stress mindset in the stress process is therefore necessary
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/78119
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