Within IPEP we have a long history of leading international research in the area of stress and anxiety. Since the late 1970s we have been challenging the simplistic views that have been commonly accepted in the field. One of the major advances was the development of a catastrophe model of anxiety and human performance (see Hardy, 1990). This model continues to be developed and expanded by the IPEP group (Beattie & Davies, 2010; Hardy et al., 2007). Several lines of anxiety research are currently being pursued within IPEP. These include a novel conceptualisation of anxiety that fully incorporates the control processes involved in the effects of anxiety on elite performance (e.g., Cheng et al., 2008), the psychophysiological explorations of the mechanisms underlying the anxiety-performance relationship (e.g., Cooke et al., 2011), and the impact of different goal setting strategies in enhancing performance under pressure (e.g., Mullen & Hardy, 2010; Mullen et al., 2011).

Key Publications

Beattie, S. & Davies, M. (2010). A test of engagement vs. disengagement in catastrophe models.British Journal of Psychology, 101, 361-371.

Cooke, A., Kavussanu, M., McIntyre, D., Boardley, I., & Ring, C. (2011). Effects of competitive pressure on expert performance: Underlying psychological, physiological and kinematic mechanisms.Psychophysiology. 48,1146-1156.

Cheng, W.N.K., Hardy, L., & Markland, D. (2008).  Toward a three-dimensional conceptualization of performance anxiety: Rationale and initial measurement development.  Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 10, 271-278.

Hardy, L.,Beattie, S., & Woodman, T. (2007) Anxiety induced performance catastrophes: investigating effort required as an asymmetry factor. British Journal of Psychology, 98,15-31.

Hardy, L. (1990). Testing the predictions of the cusp catastrophe model of anxiety and performance. The Sport Psychologist, 10, 140-156.

Mullen, R., Faull, A., Jones, E.S., & Kingston, K. (2015). Evidence for the effectiveness of holistic process goals for learning and performance under pressure. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 17, 40-44. 

Mullen, R. & Hardy, L. (2010). Conscious processing and the process goal paradox. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 32, 275-297.

Key Staff

Prof Lew Hardy

Prof Tim Woodman

Dr Stuart Beattie

Andrew Cooke

Photo not available


Dr Andrew Cooke

Dr Eleri Jones