Vakgroep Psychologie, Gezondheid & Technologie

How are stress mindset, eustress and distress related to anxiety?


BA assignment

Internal or external? Internal                                                                                                

How many students possible? 4

Own data collection: Yes

Type of research: quantitative empirical

EC: 15       



Most people experience stress from time to time. Stress can make your heart ponder, increase your breath, and can make you shaky and sweaty. These physiological symptoms are also common among people with anxiety symptoms and not surprisingly, stress and anxiety are related. This association between stress and anxiety reflects the belief that stress is distressing and has negative and harmful effects on mental and physical health. The positive counterpart of distress, that is eustress, is much less researched. Eustress is a form of stress that encourages action at times when you feel challenged and is accompanied by positive feelings. Just as repeated physical activity promotes physical health, repeated eustress can promote mental health and performance.


Stress mindset is an important factor in shaping distress or eustress responses to stressors. Stress mindset is conceptualized as the extent to which an individual holds the mindset that stress has enhancing consequences for various stress-related outcomes (referred to as a “stress-is-enhancing mindset”) or holds the mindset that stress has debilitating consequences for outcomes such as performance and productivity, health and well-being, and learning and growth (referred to as a “stress-is-debilitating mindset”).


For this assignment you will examine the association between stress mindset, eustress and distress, anxiety, and factors related to anxiety. It might be possible that someone with a stress-enhancing mindset is less anxious to experience physiological anxiety symptoms, less tended to perform safety behaviors in response to stressors, or less self-aware in coping with stressors. These factors, that is, anxiety sensitivity, safety behaviors or self-focused attention are associated with anxiety symptoms. If stress mindsets influence these constructs, future interventions aimed at decreasing anxiety might benefit from changing stress mindsets.


Who are we looking for?

Enthusiastic students who are willing to explore this new area of research and are capable of doing quantitative data analysis.


Supervisors: dr. Mirjam Radstaak