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Mindset Matters: An Experimental Study about the Induction of a Stress-is-Enhancing Mindset and the Moderating Effects of Age

Jansen, Marleen (2020) Mindset Matters: An Experimental Study about the Induction of a Stress-is-Enhancing Mindset and the Moderating Effects of Age.

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Abstract:Context and Objectives: Stress can influence the human’s health negatively. Holding a stress-is-enhancing mindset (belief that stress has enhancing consequences) can be effective in dealing with its consequences. A stress-is-enhancing mindset is indicated by literature to be positively related to the individuals’ positive affect and perceived stress. However, it is yet unclear whether stress mindset changes lasted after the manipulative intervention was delivered. The present study investigated whether stress mindset can be altered by a video intervention promoting a stress-is-enhancing mindset and its temporal maintenance. Furthermore, if this change is accompanied by changes in the experience of positive emotions and perceived stress, and whether the stress mindset effects are moderated by age. Design and Participants: A randomized controlled trial was conducted within a convenience sample of 98 German-speaking participants (age M = 36 years, SD = 15.85, 61.6% female) who were randomly assigned to either a stress-is-enhancing (n = 51) or control condition (n = 47). The stress-is-enhancing condition received a three-minute long video intervention presenting information about the enhancing nature of stress and the control condition a non-manipulative equivalent. All participants completed online self-reporting questionnaires about stress mindset, positive affect and perceived stress at baseline, post-test (one week after baseline) and follow-up (two weeks after baseline). Results: Moderate effect size improvements in stress mindset into a more stress-is-enhancing mindset appeared for the stress-is-enhancing condition at post-test and follow-up (with decreased intensity) relative to the control condition. Changes were most visible directly after the stress mindset intervention (controlled for age and gender) was delivered. However, the main effect of perceived stress over time was marginally significant, for positive affect no significance was found. Furthermore, age was found to moderate changes in stress mindset at post-test with an increased effectiveness of the stress mindset intervention for participants who were older than 20 years up to the age of 66 years. Also, age moderated changes in perceived stress at post-test, indicating increased effectiveness of the stress mindset intervention for at least 40 years old participants up to the age of 66 years. For gender no significant main effect was found. Conclusion: These results indicate that a stress mindset intervention may induce a more stress-is-enhancing mindset, especially for older individuals. The current study contributes to the stress mindset theory and displays a valuable starting point for future research in the domain of stress mindset.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/81371
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