Research Library

Search over three decades of research on mindsets, including Mindset Scholars Network briefs and working papers, and other publications from Network studies and initiatives.


Developmental Stage

Publication Type

Adolescents’ perceptions of the prejudice in their social environments can factor into their developmental outcomes. The degree to which others in the environment perceive such prejudice—regardless of adolescents’ own perceptions— also matters by shedding light on the contextual climate in which adolescents spend their daily lives. Drawing on the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this study revealed that school-wide perceptions of peer prejudice, which tap into the interpersonal climate of schools, appeared to be particularly risky for adolescents’ academic achievement. In contrast, adolescents’ own perceptions of peer prejudice at schools were associated with their feelings of alienation in school. Importantly, these patterns did not vary substantially by several markers of vulnerability to social stigmatization.

The authors assessed the relationship between adolescents' achievement-related beliefs and their subjective valuing of achievement. Analyses suggest that achievement-related beliefs can be classified into 3 different task value factors (interest, perceived importance, and perceived utility), 1 expectancy / ability factor (comprising beliefs about one's competence, expectancies for success, and performance perceptions), and 2 task difficulty factors (perceptions of difficulty and perceptions of effort to do well). Task values and ability perception factors were positively related to each other and negatively correlated to adolescents' perceptions of task difficulty.

This chapter reviews research on motivation, beliefs, values, and goals. The chapter covers four main topics: theories focused on expectancies for success (self-efficacy theory and control theory), theories focused on task value (theories focused on intrinsic motivation, self-determination, flow, interest, and goals), theories that integrate expectancies and values (attribution theory, expectancy-value models, and self-worth theory), and theories integrating motivation and cognition (social cognitive theories of self-regulation and motivation, and theories of motivation and volition).

This article explores whether there is something unique about the adolescent developmental period that puts them at particular risk for difficulty. The authors hypothesize that some of the negative psychological changes associated with adolescent development result from a mismatch between the needs of developing adolescents and the opportunities afforded them by their social environments. It provides examples of how this mismatch develops in the school and in the home and how it is linked to negative age-related changes in early adolescents' motivation and self-perceptions. Ways in which more developmentally appropriate social environments can be created are discussed.