Vakgroep Psychologie, Gezondheid & Technologie

The associations between depression, eustress, distress and stress mindset


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. When stress becomes chronic, it can lead to a depression. The association between stressful life events and depression 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 and depression, and factors related to depression. It could be possible that depressive symptoms are more strongly related to a lack of eustress than high levels of distress. It also might be possible that someone with a stress-enhancing mindset is less likely to ponder about stressful events and report less depressive symptoms. Self-esteem could also be associated with stress mindset and depressive symptoms, just as resilience. If stress mindsets influence depressive symptoms, future interventions in the treatment of depression 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