Across two studies, we examined the relation between mindsets of health, expectancy-value and eating intentions. We also explored if relations are stronger for African Americans compared to White Americans. In Study 1, we conducted a correlational study (N= 158) to examine initial relations among constructs. In Study 2, we employed an experimental design (N = 205), and randomly assigned participants to either a growth mindset or a fixed mindset of health condition. In both studies, we measured participants’ mindsets of health, expectancy-value beliefs, healthy eating intentions, past eating habits and demographics.

In Study 1, stronger growth mindsets of health predicted healthier eating intentions. Expectancy-value beliefs, namely, the extent to which individuals value healthy eating habits and expect to be able to manage their eating, mediated this relation. In Study 2, we successfully manipulated mindsets of health and individuals in the growth mindset condition reported healthier eating intentions, compared to those in the fixed mindset condition. Expectancy-value beliefs again mediated this link. Race only moderated the relation in Study 1, such that effects of growth mindsets on outcomes (i.e., eating intentions and expectancy-value beliefs) are stronger for African Americans compared to White Americans.

Study 1 provided initial evidence of a relationship between stronger growth mindsets of health and healthier beliefs and intentions. Study 2 offered experimental evidence. We discuss theoretical and practical implications.

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Post-print Article

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Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

DOI: 10.1111/jasp.12589

The definitive version is available at:

Full citation:

Thomas, Fanice N., Jennifer L. Burnette, and Crystal L. Hoyt. “Mindsets of Health and Healthy Eating Intentions.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 49, no. 6 (June 2019): 372–380. doi:10.1111/jasp.12589.

Available for download on Thursday, June 17, 2021