Here’s Why Believing People Can Change Is So Important in Life

Our Better Health

How a growth mindset affects stress levels and health.

Adolescents who believe people can change cope better with the challenges of attending high school, a new study finds.

In contrast, those who believed that people’s personalities are fixed and unchangeable fared worse, suffering higher levels of stress and poorer physical health.

The study’s authors were inspired by the idea that the high school years are a defining period in life:

“Iconic films such as The Breakfast Club or Back to the Future depict teens as indelibly marked as “losers,” “jocks,” or “bullies”—labels that are thought to haunt them or buoy them throughout high school and into adulthood.” (Yeager et al., 2014)

To see if high schoolers believe this, they recruited 158 ninth-grade students at a California high school.

At the start of the academic year they measured the extent to which they thought people can change.

Then, at…

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