How students view intelligence affects how they internalize stress

The belief that smartness can be developed leads high schools students to become more resilient to stress and more proactive in resolving stressful situations.

How students view intelligence affects how they internalize stress
stress response

Main titles

  • Stress is especially apparent if students' grades begin to drop. Students who had a fixed mindset that intelligence could not change, showed an increase stress response to worse grades.

"Declining grades may get 'under the skin,' as it were, for first-year high school students who believe intelligence is a fixed trait,  but believing, instead, that intelligence can be developed—or having what is called a growth mindset— may buffer the effects of academic stress." - Hae Yeon Lee, UT Austin psychology graduate student.

resilience and stress

  • After an intense academic stressor, students who believed in intellectual capacity growth were able to overcome the stress the following day. By contrast, the fixed mindset students continued to demonstrate high levels of stress, the day after the stressor.

"More students might thrive if schools carefully selected appropriate challenges, and provided students with growth-oriented belief that, with the right resources, they could continue to develop their abilities to meet reasonable demands." David Yeager, a UT Austin associate professor of psychology.