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Investigations of stress appraisals and emotions, and their impact upon coping resources, performance, and neuroendocrine response among athletes

Thompson, Mark A.


Mark A. Thompson


Adam R. Nicholls

John (Sport scientist) Toner

John L. (Sport psychologist) Perry


Both the Cognitive-Motivational-Relational (CMR) Theory of Emotions and the Broaden-and-Build (BaB) Theory of Emotions are seminal in the domain of psychology. Despite the widespread relevance of their combined core ingredients (that is, stress appraisals, emotions, and coping) to the field of sport psychology, there remain comprehensive gaps in their application to sporting populations, particularly in regards to psychological, neuroendocrine, and athlete performance response. Therefore, the contribution of this thesis was to investigate stress appraisals and emotions in relation to their impact upon psychophysiology and athletic performance through use of five interrelated studies. The CMR theory was examined through cross-sectional and laboratory research, whilst the BaB theory was tested via cross-sectional, longitudinal, and laboratory explorations. Regarding CMR theory, stress appraisals were found to be aligned with both subjective and objective measures of performance, as well as possessing a causal psychophysiological impact within athletes. The temporal orientation of stress appraisals may elicit distinct psychological, neuroendocrine, and performance profiles. Further, in relation to BaB theory, pleasant emotions may have short- and long-term performance and psychological benefits, including ‘broadening’ one’s attention to facilitative coping strategies, ‘building’ enduring coping resources, and ‘undoing’ psychological costs incurred from previous unpleasant emotional experiences. Cross-study evidence for the existence of physiological ‘success stress’ was also discovered. Loss stress appraisals and unpleasant emotions may elicit a performance benefit in some athletes but are also linked with psychophysiological stress. Implications for athletes and their stakeholders, as well as future research recommendations are offered. This thesis represents the first causal examinations of both past-oriented stress appraisals and BaB theory within athletes and can be viewed as a novel contribution to the extant sport psychological literature.


Thompson, M. A. (2019). Investigations of stress appraisals and emotions, and their impact upon coping resources, performance, and neuroendocrine response among athletes. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Feb 24, 2020
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Sports science
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science, The University of Hull
Award Date Mar 1, 2019


Thesis (2.2 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2019 Thompson, Mark A. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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