Sportopedia Glossary

Arousal Reappraisal

Arousal Reappraisal

Arousal reappraisal is a psychological technique that encourages individuals to view stress-fueled elevations in physiological arousal (e.g., racing heart) as a coping tool that can help maximize performance (Jamieson, Mendes, & Nock, 2013). Contrary to the traditional view that heightened arousal during stress is harmful, individuals are told to reinterpret their bodily signals as beneficial—increasing oxygen delivery to the brain and muscles and preparing the body for immediate action (Jamieson et al., 2013). Arousal reappraisal originates from early social psychology theories (e.g., two-factor theory of emotion; Schachter & Singer, 1962), and has been shown to reduce anxiety symptoms, boost self-confidence, aid cardiovascular reactivity (i.e., dilate blood vessels and increase cardiac activity), and benefit task performance during stressful settings (e.g., Jamieson, Peters, Greenwood, & Altose, 2016; Sammy et al., 2017). While further research into underlying mechanisms is needed, arousal reappraisal is currently thought to benefit performance by increasing individuals’ perceptions of their ability to cope with a stressful situation (Jamieson et al., 2016).

Jamieson, J. P., Mendes, W. B., & Nock, M. K. (2013). Improving acute stress responses: The power of reappraisal. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22(1), 51 56.

Jamieson, J. P., Peters, B. J., Greenwood, E. J., & Altose, A. J. (2016). Reappraising stress arousal improves performance and reduces evaluation anxiety in classroom exam situations. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7(6), 579 587.

Sammy, N., Anstiss, P. A., Moore, L. J., Freeman, P., Wilson, M. R., & Vine, S. J. (2017). The effects of arousal reappraisal on stress responses, performance and attention. Anxiety, Stress and Coping, 30(6), 619 629.

Schachter, S., & Singer, J. (1962). Cognitive, social, and physiological
determinants of emotional state. Psychological Review, 69, 379 399.

***Contributed by Samuel J. Vine & Lee Moore for Hackfort, D., Schinke, R. J., & Strauss, B. (Eds.). (2019). Dictionary of sport psychology:sport, exercise, and performing arts. Academic Press.