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School of Science, Psychology and Sport

Assoc Prof Christopher Mesagno

Phone: (03) 53276136
Room: P340
Position: Associate Professor - Exercise and Sport Psychology
Discipline: Exercise and sport sciences


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

Teaching areas

  • Sport and exercise psychology
  • Psychosocial Aspects of Health Behaviour
  • Communication and Complex Conditions in Exercise Physiology Practice

Professional associations

  • Member, Australian Psychological Society (APS)
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Human Psychology
  • Editorial Board, Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Sport Psychology in Action
  • Editorial Board, International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

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 physical activity can play a part in stress resilience and investigates how cognitive appraisal helps 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 numerous athletes within a range of team and individual sports to enhance performance.

Publications (Last 5 years)

Book chapters

Mesagno, C. (in press). Performance under pressure in self-paced motor tasks. In G. Ziv & R. Lidor (Ed.), The Psychology of Closed Self-paced Motor Tasks. Routledge.

Mesagno, C., Ehrlenspiel, F., Wergin, V. V., & Gröpel, P. (in press). Choking under pressure: Future research for individual and team perspectives. In E. Fihlo & I. Basevitch (Ed.), The Unknown in Sport Exercise and Performance Psychology: Research Questions to Move the Field Forward. New York: Oxford University Press.

Ehrlenspiel, F., & Mesagno, C. (in press). Anxiety in sports. In J. Schüler, M. Wegner, H. Plessner, & R. Eklund (Eds), Sport Psychology Basics and Application (English version). Berlin: Springer.

Ehrlenspiel, F., & Mesagno, C. (2020). Angst im sport (Fear in sports). In J. Schüler, M. Wegner, & H. Plessner (Eds), Sport Psychologie Grundlagen und Anwendung (Sport Psychology Basics and Application) (pp. 268-306). Berlin: Springer.

Mesagno, C., (2019). Three separate entries: Deceptive behaviour, choking under pressure, and stereotype threat. In D. Hackfort, R. J. Schinke, & B. Strauss (Eds.), Dictionary of Sport Psychology. London: Elsevier.

Cappuccio, M. L., Gray, R., Hill, D. M., Mesagno, C., & Carr, T. H.(2019). 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.

Refereed articles

Mesagno, C., Tibbert, S. J., Buchanan, E., Harvey, J. T., & Turner, M. J. (in press). Irrational beliefs and choking under pressure: A preliminary investigation. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology.

McNeil, D. G., Spittle, M., & Mesagno, C. (2021). Imagery training for reactive agility: Performance differences for decision time but not overall reactive agility. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 19(3), 429-445.

Mesagno, C., Hill, D. M., Steptoe, K., & Brown, D. J. (2020). Sport performance interventions: Evaluating past strategies and provide future recommendations. International Journal of Sport Psychology: Special Issue 50th Anniversary, 51, 646-666.

Gröpel, P., Mesagno, C., & Beckmann, J. (2020). Pre-shot routines to improve competitive performance: A case study of a group of elite pistol shooters. Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology, 4(1), 52-57.

Calverley, H., Davis, P., Harvey, J, & Mesagno, C. (2020). Examining group differences in emotion regulation strategies and the state and trait anxiety of lifeguards and non-lifeguards in a real-world precompetitive situation. International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 12(2), Article 4.

Demetriou, A., Jago, A., Gill, P. R., Mesagno, C., & Ali, L. (2020). Forced retirement transition: A narrative case study of an elite Australian Rules football player. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 18, 321-335.

Wergin, V. V., Beckmann, J., Gröpel, P., & Mesagno, C. (2020). Investigating cumulative effects of pre-performance routine interventions in beach volleyball serving. PLOS ONE, 15(1), e0228012.

Miller, K. J., Gonçalves-Bradley, D. C., Areerob, P., Hennessy, D., Mesagno, C., & Grace, F. (2020). Comparative effectiveness of three exercise types to treat clinical depression in older adults: A systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomized control trials. Ageing Research Reviews, 58, 100999.

Miller, K. J., Mesagno, C., McLaren, S., Grace, F., Yates, M., & Gomez, R. (2019). Exercise, mood, self-Efficacy, and social support as predictors of depressive symptoms in older adults: Direct and interaction effects. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 2145.

Mesagno, C., Garvey, J., Tibbert, S. J., & Gröpel, P. (2019). An investigation into handedness and choking under pressure in sport. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 90, 217-226.

Wergin, V. V., Mallett, C. J., Mesagno, C., Zimanyi, Z.,& Beckmann, J. (2019). When you watch your team fall apart – Coaches’ and sport psychologists’ perceptions on causes of collective sport team collapse. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1331.

Gröpel, P., & Mesagno, C. (2019). Choking interventions in sports: A systematic review. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 12, 176-201.

Mesagno, C., Beckmann, J., Wergin, V. V., & Gröpel, P. (2019). Primed to perform: Comparing different pre-performance routine interventions to improve accuracy in closed, self-paced motor tasks. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 43, 73-81.

Wergin, V. V., Zimanyi, Z., Mesagno, C., & Beckmann, J. (2018). When suddenly nothing works anymore within a team – Causes of collective sport team collapse. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 2115.

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.

Grants (last 5 years)

Porter, J. E., Reimers, V., Barbagallo, M., Prokopiv, V., James, M., Dabkowski, E., Mesagno, C. (Investigator),Peck, B., Jones, J., Missen, K., Bailey, C., Snell, C., & Brito, S. (2020). The Latrobe Health Assembly Community Programs Evaluation. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) - Latrobe Health Assembly (LHA). Total funding: $143,866

Porter, J. E., Mesagno, C. (Investigator),James, M., & Prokopiv, V. (2020). South Gippsland Suicide Prevention Project. South Gippsland Shire Council. Total funding: $10,000.

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. Total funding: $22,800

Research higher degree completions (last 5 years)

Leanne Sommers (Principal Supervisor) PhD dissertation (2021) “Examining Factors that Influence the Relationship between Personality and Stress”

Kyle Miller (Associate Supervisor) PhD dissertation (2021) “An Examination of Physical Exercise as an Adjunct Treatment for Depressive Symptoms in Older Adults Aged 65 Years and Over”

Vanessa Wergin (Co-Supervisor - Technische Universität München, Germany) PhD dissertation (2019) “Causes of Collective Team Collapse in Competitive Team Sports”