This was a longitudinal study funded by the NICHD (grant R01HD08477, P2CHD042849, Population Research Center, PI: D. Yeager, Co-Is: J. Jamieson, C. Beevers, R. Josephs, H. Reis) that ran from 2015 to 2021. It featured a single-session, universal, preventative intervention in 9th grade, which taught adolescents about a growth mindset of personality—that our traits and personalities are not fixed but rather can change. Through mental health surveys, daily diaries, hormone samples, and student academic transcripts, this study examined how to help adolescents cope with stressful situations and put them on track for a successful transition to and through high school.
The TLSASR included two samples
Daily Diary Sample
- Sample: N ~ 1,100 students, N ~4,000 mental health surveys, N ~ 12,000 daily diary surveys, N ~9,000 hormone samples assayed for steroid panel, from 9th to 11th grade. Also, N ~ 550 parent surveys
Saturated School Sample
- Sample: N ~ 6,000 students, two waves, fall to spring. Complete social networks because response rates were roughly 95%. Yearbooks (in many schools).
The publicly available dataset can be found at ICPSR
Original aims and our conclusions
Aim 1. Estimate the size of the effect of the [growth mindset] intervention on internalizing symptom levels, and test for moderation by individual differences. This was accomplished. We recruited 7,917 students from a national sample of 30 high schools. A paper reporting the effects of the intervention is forthcoming at Child Development.
Aim 2. Assess the role of changes in responses to daily social stressors as mediators of the [growth mindset] effect on internalizing symptoms. The study met the proposed sample size (N = 1,161) and exceeded the number of planned daily diary observations (n = 15,318). Pre-registered multilevel analyses found the expected Treatment ´ Daily Stressor Intensity interaction predicting the average daily threat appraisals assessed over ten days post-treatment, b = -.07, SE =.03, t = -2.75, p = .006 in the TLSASR dataset.
Aim 3. In a controlled laboratory setting, test the hypothesis that a [growth mindset] will lead to altered physiological reactivity in response to social evaluation. We did this and exceeded our planned sample size of 120 participants in the stress condition (actual total N=220). Our pilot study (N = 60) was published in Psychological Science [at ResearchGate]. A follow up study recruited N = 160 participants and was published in Nature.