Condition category
Mental and Behavioural Disorders
Date applied
03/03/2014
Date assigned
13/03/2014
Last edited
13/02/2015
Prospective/Retrospective
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Completed
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
Unconditional regard refers to the feeling that one is accepted and valued by others without conditions. Psychological theory holds that when people experience unconditional regard from others, they feel valuable without conditions. Thus, unconditional regard might reduce negative self-feelings in the face of setbacks (e.g., “I am a valuable person, even if I get low
grades in school”). However, evidence for this concept is lacking. This study tests whether reflecting on unconditional regard can reduce adolescents’ negative self-feelings (i.e., negative feelings about oneself) in the face of a common setback—low grades in school.
This study focuses on 11-15 year olds, because this is an age during which negative self-feelings peak.

Who can participate?
Adolescents aged 11-15 years old.

What does the study involve?
Participants are randomly allocated to reflect for 15 minutes on experiences of unconditional regard (experimental condition), conditional regard (first control group), or other social experiences (second control group). Three weeks later, after receiving their
course grades, participants report their negative self-feelings and negative other-feelings. Course grades are obtained from school records.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
We do not foresee any risks.

Where is the study run from?
A public secondary school in the Netherlands.

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
The study started in November 2011 and ran until January 2012.

Who is funding the study?
The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.

Who is the main contact?
Eddie Brummelman, MSc
e.brummelman@uu.nl

Trial website

Contact information

Type

Scientific

Primary contact

Mr Eddie Brummelman

ORCID ID

Contact details

Heidelberglaan 1
Utrecht
3584 CS
Netherlands
+31 30 253 94 45
e.brummelman@uu.nl

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number

ClinicalTrials.gov number

Protocol/serial number

N/A

Study information

Scientific title

Can briefly reflecting upon unconditional regard buffer adolescents’ negative self-feelings following low school grades? A randomized single-blind field experiment

Acronym

Study hypothesis

We hypothesize that reflecting upon unconditional regard, compared to two active control groups,
1. will buffer participants’ negative self-feelings following low school grades
2. but will not buffer participants’ negative other-feelings following low school grades.

Ethics approval

The Research Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Utrecht University, the Netherlands, 28/02/2014

Study design

Single-blind randomized controlled field experiment. Experimenters and teachers are blind to condition assignment.

Primary study design

Interventional

Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting

Other

Trial type

Quality of life

Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet

Condition

Negative self-feelings (i.e., negative feelings about oneself)

Intervention

Participants are randomly assigned to the unconditional-regard condition or one of two active control conditions.

1. In the unconditional-regard condition, participants are told to think of peers “who always accept and value you, no matter how you behave or how good you are at something.” Next, they visualize and write about a situation in which one of these peers “still accepted and valued you even though you made a mistake or did something stupid.”
2. In the first control condition, participants are told to think of peers “who accept and value you, but only if you do or say the kind of things these peers like, approve of, or look up to.” Next, they visualize and write about a situation in which one of these peers “accepted and valued you less because you made a mistake or did something stupid.”
3. In the second control condition, participants are told to think of peers “who do not really know you.” Next, they visualize and write about a situation in which one of these peers was present while “you made a mistake or did something stupid.”

In all conditions, the exercise takes about 15 minutes.

Intervention type

Other

Phase

Not Applicable

Drug names

Primary outcome measures

1. Negative self-feelings (i.e., negative feelings about oneself) measured by questionnaire at 3 weeks post-manipulation
2. School grades measured by report card received at 3 weeks post-manipulation

Secondary outcome measures

Negative other-feelings (i.e., negative feelings about others) measured by questionnaire at 3 weeks post-manipulation

Overall trial start date

28/11/2011

Overall trial end date

16/01/2012

Reason abandoned

Eligibility

Participant inclusion criteria

1. Adequate Dutch language ability
2. Attending Dutch secondary school
3. Between 11-15 years old

Participant type

Patient

Age group

Child

Gender

Both

Target number of participants

247

Participant exclusion criteria

Does not meet inclusion criteria

Recruitment start date

28/11/2011

Recruitment end date

16/01/2012

Locations

Countries of recruitment

Netherlands

Trial participating centre

Heidelberglaan 1
Utrecht
3584 CS
Netherlands

Sponsor information

Organisation

Utrecht University (Netherlands)

Sponsor details

c/o Prof. Dr. Bram Orobio de Castro
Department of Developmental Psychology
Heidelberglaan 1
Utrecht
3584 CS
Netherlands

Sponsor type

University/education

Website

Funders

Funder type

Research organisation

Funder name

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (Netherlands) Ref. 431-09-022

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype

Location

Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Results - basic reporting

Publication summary

2014 results in: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25367539

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes