Ability Mindsets Influence the Quality of Mothers' Involvement in Children's Learning: An Experimental Investigation

Elizabeth A. Moorman, Eva M. Pomerantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This research examined the role of mothers' mindsets about the malleability of children's ability in the quality of their involvement in children's learning. Mothers (N = 79) of early elementary school children (mean age = 7.65 years) were induced to hold either an entity mindset, in which children's ability is seen as unchangeable, or an incremental mindset, in which children's ability is seen as changeable. Mothers and children were then observed as they worked on a set of challenging problems for 15 min. Unconstructive involvement (i.e., performance-oriented teaching, control, and negative affect) was more frequent among mothers induced to hold an entity mindset than those induced to hold an incremental mindset. Mothers with an entity (vs. incremental) mindset also responded to children's helplessness more unconstructively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1354-1362
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010



  • Involvement
  • Learning
  • Mindset
  • Motivation
  • Parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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