Cultivating Incremental Theories Regarding Anxiety to Reduce Student Academic and General Anxiety

  • Kyla Doherty MacEwan University


An incremental view of a personal attribute (i.e., a growth mindset) often confers significant affective and psychological advantages relative to an entity view (i.e., a fixed mindset). For example, a fixed mindset regarding anxiety has recently been shown to be associated with higher anxiety and poorer emotional coping skills (De Castella et al., 2014). No research to date has examined the causal impact of incremental vs. entity views toward anxiety on levels of anxiety. In the current proposed study, undergraduate participants will be randomly assigned to receive either an intervention that trains an incremental view of anxiety or to receive a control intervention. Three weeks later, academic and general anxiety will be measured in both groups along with their incremental vs. fixed views toward anxiety. It is predicted that that those who undergo cultivation of an incremental view toward anxiety will exhibit less anxiety than control group participants. Supportive findings would suggest that preventative interventions may be effective for protecting students from anxiety throughout the school year and from more general health risks connected to long-lasting anxiety.

Discipline: Psychology Honours

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Andrew Howell