Professor Stephen Mellalieu



Professor in Sport Psychology​



Stephen is a Professor in Sport Psychology and the Associate Dean for Research for the Cardiff School of Sport. He oversees the Wellbeing in Demanding Environments (WiDE) research and innovation group within the Cardiff Metropolitan Centre for Health, Activity and Wellbeing (CAWR). Stephen is a former Editor of the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology and co-founder and Network Editor of the World Rugby Science Network. 

Stephen is a Chartered Psychologist of the British Psychological Society, a registered Practitioner Psychologist and Partner with the Health and Care Professions Council, and a British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences accredited Sport Scientist. He has 25 years consultancy experience in high performance sport, working most recently within professional rugby union.

Research / Publications

My primary research interests lie in the area of athlete welfare, including stress, coping and performance, psychological skills training and behaviour change, and the organisational environment of elite sport. I am particularly interested in how those individuals who operate within high performance sporting environments utilise personal and social resources as they negotiate the various demands placed upon them across their professional careers. I am also interested in mental wellbeing in wider occupational environments and the role that psychological skills and resilience can play in facilitating health and performance.

Refereed Academic Journal Articles: (Selected)

Baldock, L., Cropley, B., Mellalieu, S. D., & Neil, R. (2022). A longitudinal examination of stress and mental ill-/well-being in elite football coaches. The Sport Psychologist, 1, 1-12.

Seguin, C. M., Culver, D. M., Mellalieu, S. D., Christie, S., Goss, J., & Roorda, S. (2021). What's our role? Mental performance consultants' perspectives on supporting concussed athletes. Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, 1-12.

Jones, B., et al. (2022). Contributors to negative biopsychosocial health or performance outcomes in rugby players (CoNBO): A systematic review and Delphi study protocol. BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine, 8(4), e001440.

Armino, N., Gouttebarge, V., Mellalieu, S. D., Schlebusch, R., van Wyk, J. P., & Hendricks, S. (2021). Anxiety and depression in athletes assessed using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12)-a systematic scoping review. South African Journal of Sports Medicine33(1).

Mitchell, L. A., Knight, C. J., Morris, R., & Mellalieu, S. D. (2021). "Maybe I'm just not good enough?": British swimmers' experiences of attempting to qualify for the Olympic Games. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

Baldock, L., Cropley, B., Neil, R., & Mellalieu, S. D. (2021). Stress and mental well-being experiences of professional football coaches. The Sport Psychologist.

Mellalieu, S. D., Jones, C., Wagstaff, C. R. D., Kemp, S. P. T., & Cross, M. (2021). Measuring psychological load in sport. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 42(09): 782-788.

Barker, J., Slater, M., Pugh, G., Mellalieu, S. D., McCarthy, P., Jones, M., & Moran, A. (2020). The effectiveness of psychological skills training and behavioural interventions in sport using single-case designs: A meta regression analysis of the peer-reviewed studies. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 51, 101746.

Stokes, K. A., Jones, B., Bennett, M., Close, G. L., Gill, N., Hull, J. H., Mellalieu, S. D., ... & Stewart, B. (2020). Returning to play after prolonged training restrictions in professional collision sports. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 41, 895–911. Doi:10.1055/a-1180-3692

Strutzenberger, G., Edmunds, R., Nokes, L. D., Mitchell, I. D., Mellalieu, S. D., & Irwin, G. (2020). Player–surface interactions: perception in elite soccer and rugby players on artificial and natural turf. Sports Biomechanics, 1-11.

Till K., Weakley J., Read D., Phibbs, P., Darrall-Jones J., Roe G., Chantler S., Mellalieu S. D., Hislop M., Stokes K., Rock A., & Jones B. (2020). Applied sport science for male age-grade rugby union in England. Sports Medicine-Open, 6(1), 1-20.

Sly, D., Wagstaff, CRD & Mellalieu, S. D. (2020). "It's psychology Jim, but not as we know it!": The changing face of applied sport psychology practice. Sport and Exercise and Performance Psychology, 9 (1), 87-101.

Bruton, A. M., Mellalieu, S. D., & Shearer, D. A. (2019). Who said "there is no 'I' in team"? The effects of observation content level on efficacy beliefs in groups. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 45, 101563.

Hendricks, S., Till, K., Brown, J., Drake, D., Oliver, J.L., Attwood, M., Jones, B. & Mellalieu, S. D. (2019). The Rating of Perceived Challenge as a measure of internal load for technical skill performance. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 53, 611-613.

Hendricks, S., Till, K., Oliver, J.L., Johnston, R.D., Attwood, M., Brown, J., Drake, D., MacLeod, S., Mellalieu, S. D., Treu, P., Roddy Grant, R., & Jones, B. (2018). Narrative review: Tackle contact skills for Rugby Union – a technical skill training framework and a pre-season training plan. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 40(5):44-50.

Sellars, P. S., Mellalieu, S. D., & Knight C. J. (2018). Continued participation in adolescent male rugby union: Stakeholders' perspectives. The Sport Psychologist, 32, 93-101.

Mellalieu, S.D. (2017). Sport psychology consulting in professional rugby union in the United Kingdom. Journal of Sport Psychology in Action. 8 (2), 109-120.

Hayward, F. P. I., Knight, C. J., & Mellalieu, S. D.  (2017). A longitudinal examination of stressors, appraisal, and coping in youth swimming. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 29, 56-68.

Jones, C., Griffiths, P. C., & Mellalieu, S. D. (2017). Injury and illness associations with longitudinally monitored training load and fatigue variables in sporting populations: A systematic review. Sports Medicine. 47 (5), 943-974.

Bruton, A.M, Shearer, D., & Mellalieu, S. D. (2014). Observation interventions as a means to manipulate collective efficacy in groups. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 36, 27–39.


Edited Books:

Mellalieu, S. D., & Hanton, S. (Eds.) (2015). Contemporary reviews in sport psychology. London, UK: Routledge.

Hanton, S., & Mellalieu, S. D. (Eds.) (2012). Professional practice in sport psychology: A review. London, UK: Routledge

Mellalieu, S. D., & Hanton, S. (Eds.) (2009). Applied sport psychology advances: A review. London, UK: Routledge.

Books Chapters:

Mellalieu, S. D., & Neil, R. (2023). Psychological preparation for rugby. In C. Twist & P. Worsfold (Eds.), The science of rugby (pp. 67-83). Routledge.

Shand, R. A., Dohme, L-C., & Mellalieu, S. D. (2022). The psychosocial development of the youth rugby player. In K. Till, J. Weakley, S. Whitehead, & B. Jones (Eds.), Youth rugby (pp. 169-182). Routledge.

Shand, R. A., Dohme, L-C., & Mellalieu, S. D. (2022). The psychosocial development of youth rugby players. In K. Till, J. Weakley, S. Whitehead, & B. Jones (Eds.), The young rugby player: Science & application (pp. 151-167). Routledge.

McKay, C. D., & Mellalieu, S. D. (2021). When injuries lead to retirement (Calling it a day). In C. D. McKay (Ed.), The mental impact of sports (pp. 153-166). Routledge.

Mellalieu, S. D. (2020). Multilevel adversity and growth in sports teams: A professional practice perspective. In R. Wadey, M. Day, & K. Howells. Growth following adversity in sport (pp. 201-221). Routledge.

Baldock, L., Hanton, S., Mellalieu, S. D., & Williams, J. (2020). Understanding and managing stress in sport. In J. M. Williams, & V. Krane (Eds.), Applied sport psychology: Personal growth to peak performance (8th ed., pp. 210-243). McGraw Hill.

Baldock, L., Cropley, B. J., Neil, R., & Mellalieu, S. D. (2020). Stress and well-being of those operating in groups. In D. Hackfort & R. Schinke (Eds.), The Routledge International Encyclopedia of Sport and Exercise Psychology (pp. 620-633). Routledge.

Slater, M., Barker, J., & Mellalieu, S. D. (2016). Change, conflict and culture management. In C. R. D. Wagstaff (Ed.), Organizational psychology in sport (pp. 106-129). Routledge.

Mellalieu, S. D. (2016). Working within professional rugby union. In R. Schinke & D. Hackfort (Eds.), The Routledge companion of professional sport and performance psychology(pp. 215-229). Routledge.


Teaching and Supervision

I currently deliver on modules in the areas of sport and exercise psychology at both Undergraduate and Postgraduate level. I also supervise dissertation research projects at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level.

Postgraduate Research Supervision: Director of Studies.

Alison Connaughton

Thesis Title: Development of a measure of barriers to exercise in T2DM populations. Student registered at Cardiff Met University: Doctor of Philosophy


Paul Sellars

Thesis Title: Leadership and wellbeing in high performance domains

Student registered at Cardiff Met University: Doctor of Philosophy


Bethanie Burgin

Thesis Title: Tackle injury epidemiology in Welsh community rugby union

Student registered at Cardiff Met University: Doctor of Philosophy


External Links

I have links with a number of external organisations in relation to research, professional practice, innovation and learning and teaching.
Membership of Professional Bodies:

British Psychological Society (Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology- DSEP)

Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)

British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES)

Higher Education Academy (HEA)
Editorial Board Membership:

Editorial Board Member, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology

Network Editor, World Rugby Science Network

Consultancy Activities (Organisations/Governing Bodies of Sport):

World Rugby

Premiership Rugby

Rugby Players Association

Welsh Rugby Union

English Institute of Sport


Qualifications and Awards

B.Sc. Physical Education & Sports Science, Loughborough University

M.Sc. Sports Science, Loughborough University

Ph.D. Sport Psychology, Gloucestershire University

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

BASES Accredited Sport & Exercise Scientist (Support)

Science Council Chartered Scientist

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Registered Practitioner  

British Psychological Society (BPS) Chartered Sport & Exercise Psychologist

Sporting / Coaching Profile


Semi Professional Rugby Union

Welsh Rugby Union U21s

Swansea University RFC Coaching Panel (2002-2013)