Dr Martin Turner

Job Title and Responsibilities

Associate Professor of Psychology

Current Course Leadership
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 an Associate Professor of Psychology in the School of Life Sciences and Education. I am a BPS Chartered and HCPC registered Sport and Exercise Psychologist, and a BASES accredited sport and exercise scientist. I teach across the sport and exercise psychology undergraduate and postgraduate provisions, and am a HEA Fellow. I am also an Associate Fellow of the BPS and am the Chair of the BPS West Midlands Branch Committee. I also served as the research working groups lead on the BPS Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology Committee.

I began my academic studies 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, under Professor Marc Jones. On completion of my PhD in 2013 I was awarded the British Psychological Society (BPS) Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology (DSEP) PhD Thesis of the year award

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.


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
EuroPsyEurope British Psychological Society and 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 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 business organizations such as SONY and Davies Group, and have ongoing projects involving the NHS, Fire and Rescue, teachers, and the police. I am currently the England FA Futsal lead psychologist. To underpin my consultancy, I developed “Smarter Thinking” which is a consultancy package that is based on my research in REBT. The work has led to the development of a Smartphone App (The Smarter Thinking App; Appendix 1) through securing Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) and the development of a website (www.thesmarterthinkingproject.com).

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), and 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


Artiran, M. K., Turner, M., & Şimşek, O. F. (in press). Role of rumination and reflection on irrational beliefs and distress. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy. Accepted 9th November 2018. Q1.

Chotpitayasunondh, V., & Turner, M. J. (in press). The Development and Validation of the Thai-translated Irrational Performance Beliefs Inventory (T-iPBI). Journal of Rational Emotive & Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Q1.

Turner, M. J., Kirkham, L., & Wood, A. G. (2018). Teeing up for success: The effects of rational and irrational self-talk on the putting performance of amateur golfers. Journal of Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 38, 148-153. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2018.06.012

Turner, M. J., Jones, J., & Wood, A. G. (2018). Applying the REBT cognitive disputation technique to the binary theory of emotional distress. Effective Scientist-Practitioner, 1(1), 46-64.

Turner, M. J., Ewen, D., & Barker, J. B. (2018). An idiographic single-case study examining the use of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) with three amateur golfers to alleviate sport performance phobias. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. Accepted 29th June 2018. Q2.

Outar, L., Turner, M. J., & Wood, A. G. (in press). “I need to go to the gym”: Exploring the use of rational emotive behaviour therapy upon exercise dependence, irrational and rational beliefs. Performance Enhancement & Health, 6(2), 82-93. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.peh.2018.05.001 Q3.

Dixon, M., & Turner, M. J. (2018). Stress appraisals of UK soccer academy coaches: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2018.1464055

Turner, M. J., & Davis, H. (2018). 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. Q2.

Evans, A. L., Turner, M. J., Pickerin, R., & Powditch, R. (2018). The effects of rational and irrational coach team talks on the cognitive appraisal and achievement goal orientation of varsity football athletes. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 13(3). doi: 10.1177/1747954118771183.  Q2.

Turner, M. J., Allen, M., Slater, M. J., Barker, J. B., Woodcock, C., Harwood, C. G., & McFadyen, K. (2018). The development and initial validation of the irrational performance beliefs inventory (iPBI). European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 34, 174-180. Q2.

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

Walton, G., Barker, J., Pointon, M., Turner, M. & Wilkinson, A. (2018 accepted). Information literacy and the societal imperative of information discernment. In Goldstein, S. (ed). Information literacy and democracy. London: Facet.

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: Advancing 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