Background. Students living in rural areas of the United States exhibit lower levels of educational attainment than their suburban counterparts. Innovative interventions are needed to close this educational gap.

Aims. We investigated whether an online growth mindset intervention could be leveraged to promote academic outcomes.

Sample. We tested the mindset intervention in a sample of 222 10th-grade adolescent girls (M age=15.2; 38% White, 25% Black, 29% Hispanic) from four rural, low-income high schools in Southeastern United States.

Methods. We conducted a randomized controlled trial to test the efficacy of the growth mindset intervention, relative to a sexual health programme. We used random sampling and allocation procedures to assign girls to either the mindset intervention (n-115) or an attention-matched control programme (n-107). We assessed participants at pre-test, immediate post-test, and 4-month follow up.

Results. Relative to the control condition, students assigned to the mindset intervention reported stronger growth mindsets at immediate post-test and 4-month follow up. Although the intervention did not have a total effect on academic attitudes or grades, it indirectly increased motivation to learn, learning efficacy and grades via the shifts in growth mindsets.

Conclusions. Results indicate that this intervention is a promising method to encourage growth mindsets in rural adolescent girls.

Document Type

Pre-print Article

Publication Date


Publisher Statement

©2018, The British Psychological Society. Article first published online: 2018

DOI: 10.1111/bjep.12192

The definitive version available at:

Full citation:

Burnette, Jeni L., et al. "An online growth mindset intervention in a sample of rural adolescent girls." British Journal of Educational Psychology 88.3 (2018): 428-445.