The purpose of this quantitative study was to discover the relationship between a parent's mindset, his/her student's mindset, and the student's level of anxiety as high school seniors during the college application process. 4 private, independent, college preparatory high schools throughout southern California were included in the study. The parent survey measured the parent's mindset through the Intelligence Domain of the Implicit Theories Questionnaire (ITQ) and measured the parent's emotional stability through the Ten Item Personality Survey (TIPI). The student survey measured the student's mindset through the Intelligence Domain of the ITQ, the student's level of anxiety through the State-Trait Inventory for Cognitive and Somatic Anxiety (STICSA), and several items related to student demographics, such as: grade point average (GPA), highest American College Testing (ACT) and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) score, number of colleges to which the student applied, student race and gender. 26 parent-student pairs participated representing 4 different schools. Findings in this study showed that subjects predominently held a growth mindset which promotes learning goals, allows for healthier responses to challenges and failures, and promotes resilience, effort, and hard work. Given the small sample size, there was insufficient evidence to support that either a parent's mindset or a student's mindset is a determinant of student anxiety during the college application process. However, a significant, moderate correlation (r = .50, p < .05) was found between a parent's mindset and their student's mindset. There was also a significant, moderate correlation (r = .50; p < .05) between the number of college applications a student completed and their levels of overall anxiety. It is recommended that schools provide opportunities for parents and guardians to be educated about growth mindset. Additionally, strategies and resources should be given to parents to help aid in developing a growth mindset among their children. It is also recommended that further research be conducted with a larger sample size to better assess whether there is a relationship between mindset and anxiety.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership; College applications; Universities and colleges -- Admission; Anxiety in adolescence; Parent and child

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Davis, Kay D.;