Grant Recipient: North Carolina State University
Term: 2018 –2022
Principal Investigators: Jeni Burnette, Ph.D., North Carolina State University
Laura Widman, Ph.D., North Carolina State University
Mitch Prinstein, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Summary: This study is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of Healthy Minds – a growth mindset intervention for high school students designed to reduce rates of clinical depression. Healthy Minds is delivered via a web-based platform making it cost-effective and scalable. The intervention consists of a brief, online, self-administered reading and writing activity that stresses the changeable nature of personality and teaches about the research related to growth mindsets and mental health. Prior evidence suggests this intervention could meaningfully reduce rates of clinical depression in youth. Specifically, Healthy Minds is an enhanced version of a growth mindset intervention which decreased rates of clinical depression in ninth grade students by about 30 – 40% at 9‑month follow-up in a well-conducted RCT. The current work seeks to recruit all ninth grade students from four high schools in a predominately low-income, rural school district in North Carolina and randomly assign those who agree to participate in the study (approximately 650 students) to either a treatment group that will receive Healthy Minds or an attention-matched control group that mimics the time and attention received by the Healthy Minds group but is not aimed at improving mental health. The primary outcome of interest will be rates of clinical depression at 18-month follow-up for students in the intervention, compared to the attention-matched control group.
The study’s pre-specified analysis plan is linked here.