Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 312–323 | Cite as

Beliefs About the Malleability of Anxiety and General Emotions and Their Relation to Treatment Outcomes in Acute Psychiatric Treatment

  • Hans S. SchroderEmail author
  • Elizabeth T. Kneeland
  • Alexandra L. Silverman
  • Courtney Beard
  • Thröstur Björgvinsson
Original Article


Beliefs about the malleability of self-attributes—mindsets—may have important relevance to clinical psychology. Individuals with growth mindsets of anxiety and general emotions (the belief that these attributes are changeable) report fewer psychological symptoms, more adaptive emotion regulation strategies, and prefer effortful treatments. However, most research has been conducted in unselected student samples, limiting understanding of clinical utility. Thus, we evaluated mindsets of anxiety and emotion in patients attending an intensive psychiatric partial hospitalization program using cognitive-behavior therapy, acceptance–commitment therapy, and dialectical-behavior therapy. Growth mindsets of anxiety and emotion were negatively correlated with psychological distress. Baseline growth mindset of anxiety, but not general emotion, predicted fewer anxiety symptoms at discharge, even after controlling for psychiatric symptoms, number of inpatient hospitalizations, and treatment expectations. Moreover, patients became significantly more growth-minded about anxiety at discharge, especially those with elevated psychiatric symptoms at baseline. Findings highlight the clinical potential of mindsets and point to intervention targets.


Mindsets Growth mindset Implicit theories Partial hospital program 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Schroder, Dr. Kneeland, Ms. Silverman, Dr. Beard, and Dr. Björgvinsson declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants prior to participation.

Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans S. Schroder
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elizabeth T. Kneeland
    • 1
  • Alexandra L. Silverman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Courtney Beard
    • 1
  • Thröstur Björgvinsson
    • 1
  1. 1.McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical SchoolBelmontUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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