Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders worldwide. In Hong Kong, 7% of adolescents are diagnosed with anxiety disorders, and 1 in every 4 secondary school students reports clinical-level anxiety symptoms. However, 65% of them do not access services. Long waitlists in public services, the high cost of private services, or the fear of being stigmatized can hinder service access. The high prevalence of anxiety and low intervention uptake indicate a pressing need to develop timely, scalable, and potent interventions suitable for adolescents. Single-session interventions (SSIs) have the potential to be scalable interventions for diagnosable or subclinical psychopathology in adolescents. Providing precise and context-adapted intervention is the key to achieving intervention efficacy.
This study aims to compare the effectiveness of three SSIs: single-session intervention of growth mindset on negative emotions (SIGMA), SSI of growth mindset of personality (SSI-GP), and active control, in reducing adolescent anxiety.
Adolescents (N=549, ages 12-16 years) from secondary schools will be randomized to 1 of 3 intervention conditions: the SIGMA, SSI-GP, or active control. The implementation of each intervention is approximately 45 minutes in length. Adolescent participants will report anxiety symptoms (primary outcome), perceived control, hopelessness, attitude toward help-seeking, and psychological well-being at preintervention, the 2-week follow-up, and the 8-week follow-up. A pilot test has confirmed the feasibility and acceptability of SIGMA among adolescents. We hypothesized that SIGMA and SSI-GP will result in a larger reduction in anxiety symptoms than the control intervention during the posttest and 8-week follow-up period. We also predict that SIGMA will have a more significant effect than SSI-GP. We will use the intention-to-treat principle and linear regression-based maximum likelihood multilevel models for data analysis.
This study will be conducted from December 2022 to December 2023, with results expected to be available in January 2024.
This protocol introduces the implementation content and strategies of growth mindset SSIs (consists of 2 forms: SIGMA and SSI-GP) among school students. The study will provide evidence on the efficacy of different growth mindset SSIs for adolescent anxiety. It will also establish implementation strategies for self-administrative SSIs among school students, which can serve as a pioneer implementation of a scalable and self-accessible brief intervention to improve the well-being of young people.