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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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90. Fixed emotion mindsets contribute to gender differences in internalizing symptoms

During adolescence and young adulthood, females experience more anxiety and depressive symptoms than males. We examined whether a fixed emotion mindset (FEM; belief that emotions are unchangeable) contributes to this emerging gender difference. We hypothesized that (a) females would endorse higher FEM than males; (b) higher FEM would correlate with more internalizing symptoms; and (c) FEM would be more strongly associated with internalizing symptoms in females than males, and/or would account for gender differences in internalizing symptoms. We examined state and trait EMs in two young adult samples (N = 3,138; N = 422) and two adolescent samples (N = 111; N = 181). Results indicated an effect of gender on FEM (females > males); an effect of gender on anxiety (young adult females > males) and depression (adolescent females > males); and an association between FEM and internalizing symptoms. In the adolescent sample, a Trait FEM x Gender interaction revealed that high FEM was associated with depressive symptoms in females but not males. In the young adult sample, there was a significant indirect effect of gender on anxiety symptoms through trait FEM. An understanding of FEM may provide insight into the development of internalizing symptoms and associated gender differences.

Grace J. Goodwin
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Haina H. Modi
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Haley V. Skymba
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Megan M. Davis
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Annie Weldon
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Wendy Heller
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Karen D. Rudolph
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

 


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