On the validity of stress mindset
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 02:46 authored by Christopher J. Kilby
Stress mindset theory claims that beliefs about stress influence people’s responses to stressful situations. This research lacks empirical demonstrations of both concurrent validity and whether stress mindset can display characteristics attributable to a mindset. This thesis aimed to identify observable characteristics of a mindset, and to explore one characteristic in stress mindset, namely the stability of a mindset. Furthermore, this thesis extended the construct validity of stress mindset by assessing the relationship between stress mindset and perceived stress, trait anxiety, emotional management, and the Big Five personality traits. A literature review of mindset-related research identified four observable characteristics of mindsets, including that they: 1) are composed of a range of relevant beliefs; 2) influence one’s perceptions and responses to the mindset; 3) are stable over time; and, 4) are malleable with training. To assess the construct validity and stability of stress mindset a prospective online study was undertaken. Participants (N = 123) completed three online surveys over one month assessing stress mindset, personality, trait anxiety, perceived stress, and emotional management. Stress mindset demonstrated concurrent validity with trait anxiety, emotional management, perceived stress, openness, and neuroticism. Baseline stress mindset predicted stress mindset at both follow ups. These findings provide further evidence for the construct validity and stability of stress mindset. Additional research is required to identify the direction of effect between stress mindset and these constructs.