Dr Martin Turner

Job Title and Responsibilities

Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology

Current Course Leadership
BSc Sport and Exercise Psychology (BPS Accredited)
Full-Time MSc (Applied) Sport and Exercise Psychology (BPS Accredited)
Part-Time MSc (Applied) Sport and Exercise Psychology (BPS Accredited)
MPhil/PhD in Sport and Exercise Psychology  

Group Lead for The Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology Research Group.
Principle supervisor of 6 PhD students, and secondary supervisor for 7 PhD students

About Me

I am a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology in the School of Life Sciences and Education. I am a Chartered HCPC registered Sport and Exercise Psychologist. I am also an active researcher and author. I teach sport and exercise psychology across undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

My early years were spent in my hometown of West Bromwich in the West Midlands, where I harboured misplaced desires to become a professional footballer. Being part of a school football team that didn't win a single match in five competitive seasons taught me a lot about the psychology of dealing with failure(!)  I began my academic journey here at Staffordshire University as an undergraduate in Sports Studies. I graduated in 2007 and immediately moved onto the distance learning MSc in Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology here at Staffordshire University, allowing me to work full-time in the insurance industry. At this time I also completed courses on person-centred counselling and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), which has informed much of my work to date. I graduated from my MSc in 2010 and moved straight on to studying for my PhD, supervised by Professor Marc Jones.

My PhD concerned challenge and threat states in athletes, a psychophysiological index of how individuals approach pressure situations. I also completed my Post-Graduate Certificate in Higher and Professional Education whist doing my PhD. I received my PhD in May 2013 and worked as a part-time lecturer before I started working here as a full-time lecturer. I try to practice what I preach and can often be found on the 5-a-side football pitches on campus, and sometimes on the tennis courts where I can be seen delivering slow-motion second serves in an attempt to avoid double faults (!)

I have recently coedited the Routledge book “Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy in Sport and Exercise”.


Distinction in Post Graduate Certificate in Research Supervision, January – July 2014

PhD in Sport Psychology, March 2010 – March 2013

Merit in Post Graduate Certificate in Higher and Professional Education, September 2010 –April 2012

Post Graduate Certificate in Research Methods, March 2010 – March 2011

Distinction in MSc Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology + best academic profile and best dissertation awards, Sept 2007 – July 2010

1st Class BSc Degree with Hons in Sport Studies, Sept 2004 - July 2007

Professional Memberships and Activities

In addition to the below professional achievements and memberships, I am Chair of the BPS West Midlands Branch Committee, and Research Working Group Lead for the BPS Division of Sport and Exercise Committee. 

QualificationAwarding BodyPeriod
EuroPsyEuropeBritish Psychological Societyan Federation of Psychologists' AssociationAugust 2016 - ongoing
Associate Fellow of the British Psychological SocietyBritish Psychological SocietyMay 2015 - ongoing
Chartered Sport and Exercise PsychologistBritish Psychological SocietyMay 2013 - ongoing
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy Higher Education AcademyMay 2012 – ongoing
Chartered ScientistBritish Association of Sport and Exercise Science September 2013 - ongoing
Accredited Sport and Exercise Scientist British Association of Sport and Exercise Science September 2013 - ongoing
 HCPC Registered Practitioner Psychologist Health and Care Professions Council November 2012 - ongoing
 Primary Practicum Certificate in Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy Albert Ellis Institute Centre of REBT, University of Birmingham November 2010
 Level 2 Certificate in Introduction to Counselling Skills British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies January – March 2008



My main expertise is within the scientific understanding of stress and emotion, and the application of sport and exercise psychology, within achievement settings.  My work centers on the psychophysiology of stress, emotion management using cognitive-behavioural approaches (rational emotive behavior therapy; REBT), and the transference of research to practice through consultancy. These three main areas of focus inform my teaching at all levels, my collaboration with external partners, and my engagement with the wider public and academic community.

Enterprise and Commercial Activities

As a practitioner sport and exercise psychologist I work with a number of professional athletes. I work across a range of sports including futsal, football, cricket, rugby, volleyball, cycling, shooting, archery, and equestrian. I also provide performance psychology to business professionals. I have worked with Nottingham Forest Academy (2 years) and Stoke City FC Academy (2 years) providing sport psychology to athletes aged 18+. I have also worked with Blue-chip organizations (e.g., SONY) to help staff deal with the psychological challenges of the work environment. In the past, my work with athletes has included sport psychology support with Nottingham County Cricket Club Academy, Staffordshire County Cricket Club Academy, GB Swimming (with coaches), and non-league football (Stafford Rangers). I am currently the England FA Futsal lead psychologist. I am also working with businesses using performance psychology. For example, I lead a performance psychology programme delivered with Davies Group (Insurance Broker) with their Senior Leadership Team. I also am also involved in projects looking at the use of REBT to enhance well-being with Police and Fire and Rescue services. I have consulted with the NHS (Lothian), social services, Housing Associations, and teachers on developing resilience, and regularly provide workshops for the Staffordshire Chambers of commerce on emotion management and stress. To underpin my consultancy, I developed “Smarter Thinking” which is a consultancy package that also collects data. Alongside this, I have developed the “Smarter Thinking App” with the help of Dr. Andrew Wood, to help clients to integrate REBT principles into their everyday lives.

Research Interests

ORCID: 0000-0003-1975-5561
ResearcherID: D-1536-2018

My current projects involve the examination of REBT in performance settings. This includes measure development and refinement, applied work drawing on single-case designs, and theoretical advancements. Chiefly, I am interested in how REBT can be used with performers across many domains to promote psychological wellbeing and mental health for the benefit of short and long-term performance. I am the recipient of the 2018 Albert Ellis Award for Research for my paper on the use of REBT to promote mental health in athletes.

My work also examines the tenets of, and practically applies, the Theory of Challenge and Threat States in Athletes. This includes psychophysiological testing to understand the biological associates of adaptive (challenge) and maladaptive (threat) approaches to pressure. My PhD examine the link between challenge and threat states and task performance, for which I received the 2013 BPS DSEP PhD Award.

To compliment my publication record, I have written two popular psychology books, have contributed numerous book chapters to academic texts, and co-edited a landmark book on the use of REBT in sport and exercise (Routledge). My work in REBT has led to various invited talks, an Associate Editorial position (Effective Scientist-Practitioner), the development of a Smartphone App (The Smarter Thinking App) through securing Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF), and the development of a website (www.thesmarterthinkingproject.com).  Finally, my work as an applied psychology practitioner has allowed me to translate my research to the real-world through consultancy work across athletic (e.g., the FA), occupational (SONY), and military settings (RAF).

Selected Publications


Turner, M. J., & Davis, H. (in press). Exploring the effects of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) on the irrational beliefs and self-determined motivation of triathletes. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology.https://doi.org/10.1080/10413200.2018.1446472.

Evans, A. L., Pickerin, R., Turner, M. J., & Powditch, R. (in press). The effects of rational and irrational coach team talks on the cognitive appraisal and achievement goal orientation of varsity soccer athletes. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching

Wood, A, G., Barker, J. B., Turner, M., & Sheffield, D. (2018). Examining the Effects of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) on Performance Outcomes in Elite Paralympic Athletes. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. 28(1), 329-339. doi: 10.1111/sms.12926 Q1.

Turner. M. J., & Allen, M. (2018). Confirmatory factor analysis of the irrational Performance Beliefs Inventory (iPBI) in a sample of amateur and semi-professional athletes. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 35, 126-130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2017.11.017.

Turner, M. J., Slater, M. J., Dixon, J., & Miller, A. (2017). Test-retest reliability of the irrational performance beliefs inventory (iPBI). European Journal of Sport Science, 18(1). 123-129. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2017.1411527.

Turner, M. J., Carrington, S., & Miller, A. (in press). Psychological distress across sport participation groups: The mediating effects of secondary irrational beliefs on the relationship between primary irrational beliefs and symptoms of anxiety, anger, and depression. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, accepted 25th August, 2017.

Slater, M. J., Turner, M. J., Evans, A. L., & Jones, M. V. (2017). Capturing hearts and minds: The influence of relational identification with the leader on followers' mobilization and cardiovascular reactivity. Leadership Quarterly, accepted August, 2007. doi: 10.1016/j.leaqua.2017.08.003.

Falls, N., Barker, J. B., & Turner, M. J. (2017). The Effects of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) on Prospective Imagery and Anxiety in Golfers. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 30(2), 171-184. https://doi.org/10.1080/10413200.2017.1345999.

Wood, A. G., Turner, M. J., Barker, J. B., & Higgins, S. J. (2017). Investigating the Effects of Irrational and Rational Self-Statements on Motor-Skill and Hazard Perception Performance. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 6(4), 384-400.

Allen, M. S., El-Cheikha, S., & Turner, M. J. (2017). A longitudinal investigation of irrational beliefs, hedonic balance and academic achievement. Learning and Individual Differences, 58, 41-45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2017.07.003.

Vertopolous, V., & Turner, M. J. (2017). Examining the effectiveness of a Rational Emotive Personal-Disclosure Mutual-Sharing (REPDMS) intervention on the irrational beliefs, rational beliefs, and emotions of Greek adolescent athletes. The Sport Psychologist, 31, 264-274.

Cumming, S., Turner, M. J., & Jones, M. V. (2017). Longitudinal changes in elite rowers’ challenge and threat appraisals of pressure situations: A season-long observational study, The Sport Psychologist, 31, 217-226.

Deen, S., Turner, M. J., & Wong, R. (2017). The effects of REBT and credos on irrational beliefs and resilient qualities in athletes, The Sport Psychologist, 31, 249-263.

Dixon, M., Turner, M. J., & Gillman, J. (2017). Examining the relationships between challenge and threat cognitive appraisals and coaching behaviours in football coaches, Journal of Sports Sciences, 35(24), 2446-2452.


Turner, M. J., & Bennett, R. (2018). Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy in Sport and Exercise. Routledge.

Turner, M. J., & Barker, J. B. (2014). Tipping the balance: the mental skills handbook for athletes. UK: Bennion Kearny

Turner, M. J., & Barker, J. B. (2014). What business can learn from sport psychology. UK: Bennion Kearny

Book Chapters

Wood, A. G., Turner, M. J., & Barker, J. B. (in press). Bolstering Psychological Health Using Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy. In G. Breslin., and G. Leavey (Eds.). Mental health and well-being interventions in sport: A case study analysis. Routledge.

Turner, M. J. (in press). REBT in Sport. In M.E. Bernard & W. Dryden (Eds.), REBT: Advances in Theory, Research, Prevention, Promotion. New York: Springer Press.

Breitmeyer, A., & Turner, M. J. (in press). From REBT to REBC: The Application of Rational, Emotive, and Behavioral Therapy Techniques within the Context of Sport. In M. E. Bernard., and O. David (Eds.), Coaching Reason, Emotion and Behavior Change. Springer.

Turner, M. J., & Jones, M. V. (2018). Arousal Control in Sport. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190236557.013.155

Turner, M. J., & Bennett, R. (2017). An Introduction to The Use of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy in Sport and Exercise. In M. J. Turner., and R. Bennett, R. (Eds.), Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy in Sport and Exercise. Routledge.

Bennett, R., & Turner, M. J. (2017). The Theory and Practice of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT). In M. J. Turner., and R. Bennett, R. (Eds.), Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy in Sport and Exercise. Routledge.

Wood, A. G., Barker, J. B., & Turner, M. J. (2017). Rational emotive behaviour therapy to help young athletes build resilience and deal with adversity (Ch 24). In C. J. Knight., C. G. Harwood., and D. Gould (Eds.), Sport Psychology for Youth Athletes. Routledge.

Turner, M. J., & Jones, M. V. (2014). Stress, emotions and athletes’ positive adaptation to sport: Contributes from a transactional perspective. In R, Gomes, R, Resende, and A, Albuquerque (Eds.). Positive human functioning from a multidimensional perspective, Volume 1. Nova Science.

Jones, M. V., & Turner, M. J. (2014). Self-Regulation. In Robert C. Eklund and G. Tenenbaum (Eds.). Encyclopedia of Sport and Exercise Psychology. SAGE Publications.

Turner, M. J. (2013). Performing under pressure. In S. Cotterill and J. Barker (Eds.). The psychology of cricket: Developing mental toughness. Birmingham, UK: Bennion Kearney Limited.

Jones, M. V., & Turner, M. J. (2012). Will I choke on my big day? In P. Totterdell and K. Niven (Eds.). Should I strap a battery to my head? (and other questions about emotion). Charleston, SC: Createspace Independent Publishing


Current Teaching

Current Module Leadership
Undergraduate Competitive Performance Under Pressure (L6)
MSc Professional Practice of Sport and Exercise Psychology (PT and FT)
MSc Skilled Performance Under Pressure
MSc Masters Research Project

Additional Module Teaching
Undergraduate Sport Dissertation Supervisor (L6)
Undergraduate Psychology Research Project Supervisor (L6)
Undergraduate Research Assistantship Supervisor (L5)
Performing in Organisations as part of the Master in Business Administration (MBA)
Post-graduate Staffordshire Graduate Edge (PGCert)



Dr Martin James Turner
School of Life Sciences and Education
Sport and Exercise
Staffordshire University
Brindley Building
Leek Road
t: +44 (0)1782 294295
e: martin.turner@staffs.ac.uk
twitter: @DrMJTurner