An Implicit Theories of Personality Intervention Reduces Adolescent Aggression in Response to Victimization and Exclusion

Child Dev. May-Jun 2013;84(3):970-88. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12003. Epub 2012 Oct 25.

Abstract

Adolescents are often resistant to interventions that reduce aggression in children. At the same time, they are developing stronger beliefs in the fixed nature of personal characteristics, particularly aggression. The present intervention addressed these beliefs. A randomized field experiment with a diverse sample of Grades 9 and 10 students (ages 14-16, n = 230) tested the impact of a 6-session intervention that taught an incremental theory (a belief in the potential for personal change). Compared to no-treatment and coping skills control groups, the incremental theory group behaved significantly less aggressively and more prosocially 1 month postintervention and exhibited fewer conduct problems 3 months postintervention. The incremental theory and the coping skills interventions also eliminated the association between peer victimization and depressive symptoms.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Depression / prevention & control
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peer Group*
  • Personality
  • Social Behavior*
  • Treatment Outcome