School of Health and Life Sciences

Dr Chris Mesagno

Phone: (03) 5327 6136
Room: P903
Position: Senior Lecturer - Exercise and Sport Psychology
Discipline: Exercise and Sport Sciences


  • Graduate Certificate of Education (Tertiary Teaching- 2017)
  • PhD (Sport & Exercise Psychology- 2006)
  • Masters of Sport and Exercise Sciences (2001)
  • Bachelor of Science (Psychology- 1999)

Teaching areas

  • Sport and exercise psychology
  • Research methods
  • Psychosocial health care

Professional associations

  • Member, Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)
  • Member, North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA)
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Human Psychology
  • Editorial Board, Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Sport Psychology in Action
  • Association for Applied Sport Psychology Dissertation Award (2007)
  • Herman W. Schnell Academic Achievement Memorial Scholarship University of Florida (2001)

Research interests

Christopher has presented numerous national and international papers focusing on stress and anxiety in sport performance and has successfully developed theory-matched interventions to improve performance for highly anxious and "choking-susceptible" athletes. He is currently conducting research to further conceptualise and expand a self-presentation model of choking under pressure. Christopher is also interested in how social media affects sport performance and exercise behaviours, with specific interests on whether Facebook can help improve health and well-being through better health related decision-making. With his expertise in anxiety, coping, attention, and improving concentration skills, he has worked with a number of athletes within a range of team and individual sports to enhance performance.

Supervised projects

  • Exploring the imagery experience of reactive skills: Are athletes able to imagine uncertainty?
  • Testing the Interactionism Perspective for Choking under Pressure
  • Video-Based Training to Improve Decision-Making Skills of Australian Football Umpires
  • The Development of a Structural Equation Model for Athletic Identity in Australian Adolescent Athletes
  • A Randomised Controlled Trial of a High Intensity Interval Training Intervention using a Body Sensor Network and Facebook
  • The Influence of Exercise Boot camp and Facebook on Quality of Life, Sense of Belonging and Depression
  • Investigating the Relationship between Sport Anxiety, Athletic Identity, Need to Belong, with Facebook Use
  • Investigating the Differences in Anxiety and Performance Based on the Perceived Importance in Real-World Competitions


Book chapters

Cappuccio, M. L., Gray, R., Hill, D. M., Mesagno, C., & Carr, T. H.(2018). The many threats of self-consciousness: Embodied approaches to choking under pressure in sensorimotor skills. In M. L. Cappuccio (Ed.), Handbook of Embodied Cognition and Sport Psychology (pp. 101-155). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Mesagno, C., Mornell, A., & Quinn, A. L.(2016). Choking under pressure in sport and music: Exploring the benefits of theory transfer across domains. In A. Mornell (Ed.), Art in Motion III. Performing under pressure (pp. 23-57). Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Mesagno, C., Geukes, K., & Larkin, P. (2015). Choking under pressure: A review of current debates, literature, and interventions. In S. Mellalieu & S. Hanton (Eds), Contemporary Advances in Sport Psychology: A Review (pp148-174). London: Routledge.

Refereed Articles

Gröpel, P., & Mesagno, C. (in press). Choking interventions in sports: A systematic review. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology.

Larkin, P., Mesagno, C., Berry, J., Spittle, M., & Harvey, J. (2018). Video-based training to improve the perceptual-cognitive decision-making performance of Australian football umpires. Journal of Sport Sciences, 36, 239-346.

Larkin, P., Mesagno, C., Berry, J., & Spittle, M. (2018). Exploration of the perceptual-cognitive processes that contribute to in-game decision-making of Australian football umpires. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 16, 112-124.

Kavanagh, B. E., Harvey, J. T., & Mesagno, C. (2017). Social anxiety mediates the relationship between social connectedness and test anxiety: An exploratory investigation. Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology, 1, 60-69.

Mesagno, C., & Beckmann, J. (2017). Choking under pressure: Theoretical models and interventions. Current Opinions in Psychology, 16, 170-175.

Geukes, K., Harvey, J. T., Trezise, A., & Mesagno, C. (2017). Personality and performance in real-world competitions: Testing trait activation of fear of negative evaluation, dispositional reinvestment, and athletic identity in the field. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 30, 101-109.

Encel, K., Mesagno, C., & Brown, H. (2017). Exploring Facebook use and its relationship with sport anxiety. Journal of Sport Sciences, 35, 756-761.

Kavanagh, B. E., Ziino, S. A., & Mesagno, C. (2016). A comparative investigation of test anxiety, coping strategies and perfectionism between Australian and United States students. North American Journal of Psychology, 18, 555-570.

Beseler, B., Mesagno, C., Young, W., & Harvey, J. T. (2016). Igniting the pressure acclimatization training debate: Contradictory evidence from Australian Football. Journal of Sport Behavior, 39, 22-38.

Mesagno, C., Hill, D. M., & Larkin, P. (2015). Examining the accuracy and in-game performance effects between pre- and post-performance routines: A mixed methods study. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 19, 85-94.

Lautenbach, F., Laborde, S., Mesagno, C., Lobinger, B. H., Achtzehn S. & Arimond, F. (2015). Non-automated pre-performance routine in tennis – An intervention study. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 27, 123-131.

Larkin, P., Mesagno, C., Berry, J., & Spittle, M. (2014). Development of a valid and reliable video-based decision-making test for Australian football umpires. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 17, 552-555.

Miller, K. J., & Mesagno, C. (2014). Personality traits and exercise dependence: Exploring the role of narcissism and perfectionism. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 12, 368-381.

Larkin, P., O'Brien, B., Mesagno, C., Berry, J., Harvey, J. T., & Spittle, M. (2014). Assessment of decision-making performance and in-game physical exertion of Australian football umpires. Journal of Sports Sciences, 32, 1446-1453.

Mesagno, C., & Hill, D. M. (2013). Choking under pressure debate: Is there chaos in the brickyard? International Journal of Sport Psychology- Performance under Pressure, 4, 288-293.

Mesagno, C., & Hill, D. M. (2013). Definition of choking in sport: Re-conceptualization and debate. International Journal of Sport Psychology- Performance under Pressure, 4, 267-277.

Guekes, K., Mesagno, C., Hanrahan, S. J., & Kellmann, M. (2013). Activation of self-focus and self-presentation traits under private, mixed, and public pressure. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 35, 50-59.

Guekes, K., Mesagno, C., Hanrahan, S. J., & Kellmann, M. (2013). Performing under pressure in private: Activation of self-focused traits. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 11, 11-23.

Mesagno, C., & Marchant, D. (2013). Characteristics of polar opposites: An exploratory investigation of choking-resistant and choking-susceptible athletes. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology- Single Case Research Design Special Issue, 25, 72-91.

Grants (last 5 years)

Mesagno, C. (Principal Investigator: 2016-2017), Beckmann, J., & Gröpel, P.: Australia-Germany Joint Research Cooperation Scheme Grant. Project title: Choking under pressure: Interventions and mechanisms.

Mesagno, C. (Principal Investigator: 2012-2013), & Hill, D. M.: AASP Research Grant. Project title: Investigating pre- and post-shot routines to improve sport performance (under pressure).

Mesagno, C. (Principal Investigator: 2012-2013), O'Brien, B., & Foy, D.: University of Ballarat Seeding Grant. Project title: Using Facebook as an exercise adherence intervention for overweight individuals.

O'Brien, B., Foy, D., & Mesagno, C. (Investigator: 2011): Trustees of the Telematics Trust. Project title: The efficacy of socially networked mobile physiological data as a training intervention and learning tool.

Mesagno, C. (Principal Investigator: 2009-2010): University of Ballarat Early Career Researcher Starter Grant. Project title: Testing and assessing a self-presentation model of choking in sport.

Finch, C., Else, D., Donaldson A., Payne W., Telford A., Bani-Mustafa, A., Blitvich, J., Boyrs, D., Cowley, S., Otago, L., Twomey, D., Ullah, S., Mesagno, C. (2009–2012). University of Ballarat Research Fund- Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Research Theme.

Research Higher Degree Completions (last 5 years)

Dominic G. McNeil (Principal Supervisor) PhD dissertation (2015) “Examining Imagery Performance and Training of Reactive Tasks”