School Climate & Safety Report Roundup

Study Uses ‘Growth Mindset’ to Combat Teenage Depression

By Evie Blad — September 30, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Many a nurturing parent has soothed a bullied child with a reminder that social awkwardness will change, that the bullies may one day regret it, and that people slide up and down the social totem pole throughout their lives.

New research makes a case for using that approach to combat adolescent depression, and it relies on the same core idea as research on the “growth mindset.” Growth mindset researchers have found that students’ academic achievement improves when they learn that their mind is capable of change, and that they aren’t born with fixed skill sets they can’t outgrow.

For a study published this month in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, researchers tested an intervention with 600 freshmen in three high schools. Students randomly assigned to the intervention group read a text about how “being bullied is not the result of a fixed, personal deficiency, nor are bullies essentially ‘bad’ people” and an “article about brain plasticity.” They then wrote a narrative to share with future freshmen on how personalities can change. Students in the control group read a passage on the malleability of a trait not related to personality: athletic ability.

A follow-up nine months later showed that rates of clinically significant depressive symptoms rose by 39 percent among the control-group students, in line with previous research on depression in adolescence. But the students who read about the malleability of personality showed no such increase in depressive symptoms, even if they were bullied.

A version of this article appeared in the October 01, 2014 edition of Education Week as Study Uses ‘Growth Mindset’ to Combat Teenage Depression

Events

School & District Management Webinar Fostering Student Well-Being with Programs That Work
Protecting student well-being has never been more important. Join this webinar to learn how to ensure your programs yield the best outcomes.
Reading & Literacy Webinar 'Science of Reading': What Are the Components?
Learn how to adopt a “science of reading” approach to early literacy to effectively build students’ vocabulary and content knowledge.
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Effective Communication for School Leaders: A Forum
Join us for an afternoon of discussions on how school and district leaders can motivate staff, make the most of social media, and more.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety School Shootings Reach Record Level, Data Show
There have been 35 school shootings so far in 2022, more than in any single year since Education Week began tracking the incidents in 2018.
2 min read
A Tulsa Police officer films the area outside of the McLain High School football stadium after a shooting during a football game Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 in Tulsa, Okla. Police say a teenager was killed and another was wounded in a shooting at a high school homecoming football game in Oklahoma Friday night.
A Tulsa, Okla., police officer films the area outside of the McLain High School football stadium after a shooting during a football game Sept. 30. Police say a teenager was killed and another wounded in a shooting at a homecoming football game.
Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP
School Climate & Safety 'Swatting' Calls and Lockdowns: Tips for Schools to Ease the Anxiety and Disruption
How school administrators can prepare for lockdowns and restore calm.
4 min read
A male police officer in a dark blue uniform walks between two white police SUVs parked in front of a three-story, red brick school building.
A police officer patrolled Glennwood Elementary School in Decatur, Ga., while the school was on lockdown in 2018.
John Amis/AP
School Climate & Safety 'Swatting' Hoaxes Disrupt Schools Across the Country. What Educators Need to Know
School lockdowns can cause stress to students, teachers, and families, even if threats don't materialize.
8 min read
A bald man and a woman with long brown hair tearfully hug a teen girl who is wearing a pale beighe backpack. Three women look on with concerned expressions.
A family shares a tearful reunion after Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio, Texas, went into lockdown because of a false report of a shooting.
Kin Man Hui/The San Antonio Express-News via AP