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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.