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01-04-2015 | Original Article | Uitgave 2/2015

Cognitive Therapy and Research 2/2015

The Role of Implicit Theories in Mental Health Symptoms, Emotion Regulation, and Hypothetical Treatment Choices in College Students

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 2/2015
Hans S. Schroder, Sindes Dawood, Matthew M. Yalch, M. Brent Donnellan, Jason S. Moser
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Preliminary portions of these data were presented at the 2012 Society for Research in Psychopathology conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the 2014 Society for Personality Assessment conference in Arlington, Virginia, the 2014 Anxiety and Depression Association of America conference in Chicago, Illinois, and the 2014 Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Beliefs about how much people can change their attributes—implicit theories—influence affective and cognitive responses to performance and subsequent motivation. Those who believe their attributes are fixed view setbacks as threatening and avoid challenging situations. In contrast, those who believe these attributes are malleable embrace challenges as opportunities to grow. Although implicit theories would seem to have important mental health implications, the research linking them with clinical applications is limited. To address this gap, we assessed how implicit theories of anxiety, emotion, intelligence, and personality related to various symptoms of anxiety and depression, emotion-regulation strategies, and hypothetical treatment choices (e.g., medication versus therapy) in two undergraduate samples. Across both samples, individuals who believed their attributes could change reported fewer mental health symptoms, greater use of cognitive reappraisal, and were more likely to choose individual therapy over medication. These findings suggest that implicit theories may play an important role in the nature and treatment of mental health problems.

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