Send to

Choose Destination
Behav Res Ther. 2016 Dec;87:170-181. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2016.09.011. Epub 2016 Sep 26.

Reducing risk for anxiety and depression in adolescents: Effects of a single-session intervention teaching that personality can change.

Author information

Department of Psychology, Harvard University, 33 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Psychology, Harvard University, 33 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


Efforts to reduce youth mental health problems have advanced greatly but have not lowered overall rates of youth mental illness. Thus, a need exists for disseminable, mechanism-targeted approaches to reducing risk of youth psychopathology. Accordingly, we conducted a randomized-controlled trial testing whether a single-session intervention teaching growth personality mindsets (the belief that personality is malleable) reduced known risk factors for anxiety and depression in adolescents experiencing or at risk for internalizing problems (N = 96, ages 12-15). Compared to a supportive-therapy control, a 30-min computer-guided mindset intervention strengthened adolescents' perceived control; this improvement was associated with increases in growth mindsets. Further, electrodermal activity recovery slopes showed that youths receiving the mindset intervention recovered from a lab-based social stressor over three times as fast as control group youths. Improvements in growth mindsets and perceived control were linked with faster stress recovery. Results suggest a disseminable strategy for reducing internalizing problem risk among adolescents.


Adolescence; Anxiety; Depression; Intervention; Mediation; Mindset; Youth

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center