University of Twente Student Theses


Can a Stress Mindset be Changed? – A Randomized Controlled Trial

Wellinger, Felizia Leonie (2019) Can a Stress Mindset be Changed? – A Randomized Controlled Trial.

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Abstract:Background: Stress mindset can be conceptualised as a lens that guides individuals to specific expectations and in turn to equivalent responses (Crum, Salovey, & Achor, 2013). It can affect one’s motivation, learning, achievements in different domains and one’s well-being. Therefore, this study aimed at assessing whether people’s stress mindsets can be changed by means of an educational text. Furthermore, it was tested whether a change in stress mindset mediated the impact of the intervention on one’s mental well-being and whether the effect of the intervention was moderated by age, and two personality traits – neuroticism and extraversion. Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted among 103 German-speaking participants (Mage = 34.58; 58% females) sampled based on convenience. The participants were randomly allocated to an intervention group in which they were provided with a simple educational text about the positive effects of stress and the beneficial consequences of holding a “stress-is-enhancing” mindset, or to a control group, receiving a text about another psychological construct. Data were collected at baseline, directly after the intervention, and one week following the intervention, using online questionnaires. Results: Repeated measure analyses revealed that stress mindset scores at post-test were higher than at baseline for both conditions (F(1.62, 163.55) = 22.16, p < .001, partial η2 = .18). Further, a marginally significant interaction effect of time with condition on stress mindset was found (F(1.62, 163.55) = 2.75, p = .078), indicating that the positive change in stress mindset over time was more pronounced in the intervention condition. Additionally, analyses demonstrated that mental well-being improved (F(2, 202) = 9.64, p < .001, partial η2 = .09), which did not depend on condition (F(2, 202) = .58, p = .562). Moreover, this change was not evoked by a change in stress mindset. The effect of the intervention was not moderated by age nor by the two measured personality traits – neuroticism and extraversion. Discussion: As a conclusion, a relatively simple intervention can beneficially affect one’s stress mindset, although this does not necessarily provoke a positive change in mental health. Moreover, it works independently of characteristics such as age and personality. Further research is needed to explore other techniques to change stress mindset more effectively and persistently.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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