Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Stress Mindset

  • Jacob J. KeechEmail author
  • Kyra Hamilton
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_102001-1



Stress mindset refers to a set of beliefs individuals hold about the consequences of experiencing stress. This includes the belief that stress has enhancing consequences (i.e., a stress-is-enhancing mindset) and the contrasting belief that stress has debilitating consequences (i.e., a stress-is-debilitating mindset) for health and vitality, performance and productivity, and learning and growth (Crum et al. 2013). Stress mindset contrasts with transactional stress appraisal (Lazarus & Folkman 1984); in that the former concerns beliefs about the stress response in general which is theorized to apply across situations, whereas the latter is a single response to a stressor in a particular situation.


Mindsets refer to the beliefs about the malleability of personal qualities that serve as a mental lens or framework through which people make predictions about and judge the meaning of life events (Dweck et al.

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References and Further Reading

  1. Casper, A., Sonnentag, S., & Tremmel, S. (2017). Mindset matters: The role of employees’ stress mindset for day-specific reactions to workload anticipation. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 26(6), 798–810.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1359432X.2017.1374947.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Crum, A. J., Salovey, P., & Achor, S. (2013). Rethinking stress: The role of mindsets in determining the stress response. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(4), 716–733.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0031201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Crum, A. J., Akinola, M., Martin, A., & Fath, S. (2017). The role of stress mindset in shaping cognitive, emotional, and physiological responses to challenging and threatening stress. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping, 30(4), 379–395.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10615806.2016.1275585.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Dweck, C. S., Chiu, C., & Hong, Y. (1995). Implicit theories and their role in judgments and reactions: A word from two perspectives. Psychological Inquiry, 6(4), 267–285.  https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327965pli0604_1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Jamieson, J. P., Nock, M. K., & Mendes, W. B. (2012). Mind over matter: Reappraising arousal improves cardiovascular and cognitive responses to stress. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141(3), 417–422.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0025719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Job, V., Walton, G. M., Bernecker, K., & Dweck, C. S. (2015). Implicit theories about willpower predict self-regulation and grades in everyday life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 108(4), 637–647.  https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000014.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Karpinski, A., & Steinman, R. B. (2006). The single category implicit association test as a measure of implicit social cognition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91(1), 16–32.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.91.1.16.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Keech, J. J., Hagger, M. S., O’Callaghan, F. V., & Hamilton, K. (2018). The influence of university students’ stress mindsets on health and performance outcomes. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 52(12), 1046–1059.  https://doi.org/10.1093/abm/kay008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Keller, A., Litzelman, K., Wisk, L. E., Maddox, T., Cheng, E. R., Creswell, P. D., & Witt, W. P. (2012). Does the perception that stress affects health matter? The association with health and mortality. Health Psychology, 31(5), 677.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0026743.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Kilby, C. J., & Sherman, K. A. (2016). Delineating the relationship between stress mindset and primary appraisals: Preliminary findings. SpringerPlus, 5, 336.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s40064-016-1937-7.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer Publishing.Google Scholar
  12. Liu J. J. W., Vickers K., Reed M., Hadad M. (2017). Re-conceptualizing stress: Shifting views on the consequences of stress and its effects on stress reactivity. PLoS ONE, 12, e0173188CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. Maninger, N., Wolkowitz, O. M., Reus, V. I., Epel, E. S., & Mellon, S. H. (2009). Neurobiological and neuropsychiatric effects of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA sulfate (DHEAS). Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, 30(1), 65–91.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yfrne.2008.11.002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Nabi, H., Kivimäki, M., Batty, G. D., Shipley, M. J., Britton, A., Brunner, E. J., …, & Singh-Manoux, A. (2013). Increased risk of coronary heart disease among individuals reporting adverse impact of stress on their health: The Whitehall II prospective cohort study. European Heart Journal, 34(34), 2697–2705.  https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/eht216.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Park, D., Yu, A., Metz, S. E., Tsukayama, E., Crum, A. J., & Duckworth, A. L. (2018). Beliefs about stress attenuate the relation among adverse life events, perceived distress, and self-control. Child Development, 89(6), 2059–2069.  https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12946.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2012). Mindsets that promote resilience: When students believe that personal characteristics can be developed. Educational Psychologist, 47(4), 302–314.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520.2012.722805CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Applied Psychology, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kerry A. Sherman
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Emotional Health, Department of PsychologyMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia