Objective. Adolescents living in rural regions of the United States face substantial barriers to accessing mental health services, creating needs for more accessible, non-stigmatizing, briefer interventions. Research suggests that single-session “growth mindset” interventions (GM-SSIs)—which teach the belief that personal traits are malleable through effort—may reduce internalizing and externalizing problems in adolescents. However, GM-SSIs have not been evaluated among rural youth, and their effects on internalizing and externalizing problems have not been assessed within a single trial, rendering their relative benefits for different problem types unclear. We examined whether a computerized GM-SSI could reduce depressive symptoms, social anxiety symptoms, and conduct problems in adolescent girls from rural areas of the U.S. Method. Tenth-grade girls (N=222, M age=15.2, 38% white, 25% Black, 29% Hispanic) from four rural, low-income high schools in the Southeastern United States were randomized to receive a 45-minute GM-SSI or a computer-based, active control program, teaching healthy sexual behaviors. Girls self-reported depression symptoms, social anxiety symptoms, and conduct problem behaviors at baseline and four-month follow-up. Results. Relative to girls in the control group, girls receiving the GM-SSI reported modest but significantly greater reductions in depressive symptoms (d=.23) and likelihood of reporting elevated depressive symptoms (d=.29) from baseline to follow-up. GM-SSI effects were nonsignificant for social anxiety symptoms, although a small effect size emerged in the hypothesized direction (d=.21), and nonsignificant for change in conduct problems (d=.01). Conclusions. A free-of-charge, 45-minute GM-SSI may help reduce internalizing distress, especially depression—but not conduct problems—in rural adolescent girls.

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Copyright © 2019 Taylor & Francis.

DOI: 10.1080/15374416.2019.1622123

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Schleider, Jessica L., Jeni L. Burnette, Laura Widman, Crystal L. Hoyt, and Mitchell J. Prinstein. “Randomized Trial of a Single-Session Growth Mind-Set Intervention for Rural Adolescents’ Internalizing and Externalizing Problems.” Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology Forthcoming (June 20, 2019): 1-13. doi:10.1080/15374416.2019.1622123.

Available for download on Wednesday, June 16, 2021