Stress mindset theory suggests that positive stress beliefs lead to positive, rather than negative, outcomes when engaging with stressors. Similarly, the Transactional Model of Stress predicts that perceiving a stressor as challenging leads to positive outcomes whereas negative perceptions of the stressor as threatening invoke negative outcomes. The aim of this study was to provide preliminary data examining the nature of the relationship between stress mindset and primary appraisals. It was predicted that positive beliefs about stress would be associated with perceiving a stressful situation as more challenging, and inversely related to perceptions of threat. Participants (N = 124) initially completed measures assessing stress mindset, lifetime and current perceived stress, trait anxiety, and self-efficacy. Then participants received a set of instructions regarding a stressful mathematics task, followed by completion of post-manipulation stress mindset and primary appraisals measures, prior to completing the mathematics task. Multiple linear regression analyses revealed that participants who held a greater number of positive beliefs (as opposed to negative beliefs) about stress also perceived the stressor as being more challenging. However, there was no significant relationship between valence of beliefs and threat appraisals. These findings provide initial evidence for the nature of the relationship between valence of stress beliefs and challenge appraisals. Further research is needed to understand how stress beliefs impact on the way in which an individual copes with stressful situations.
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- Stress mindset
- Primary appraisal
- Challenge appraisal
- Threat appraisal