Graduation Date

Summer 2023

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Psychology, option Academic Research

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Amanda Hahn

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Amber Gaffney

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Ethan Gahtan

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff


Social media, Athlete, Athletic performance, Stress, Cortisol, Negative evaluation, Schmierwurscht

Subject Categories



This study aimed to investigate the potential impact of negative social media content on athletes' cortisol levels and subsequent performance. The study focused on the change in cortisol levels and differences in free throw performance, based on previous research findings. We hypothesized that negative social media postings would increase the stress experienced by student-athletes, resulting in elevated cortisol levels and decreased performance. Additionally, participants (n = 8) completed a questionnaire to examine the interaction between preexisting fear and the biological stress response. Contrary to expectations, there was no significant change in stress response, and negative postings did not have a significant negative influence on performance. Fear of negative evaluation did not interact with cortisol levels or correlate with performance outcomes. The results indicate potential complexities in the relationship between social evaluation, cortisol response, and athletic performance. In conclusion, this study highlights the need for further investigation into the influence of negative social media on athletic performance. Given the significant impact of social media in today's society, it is crucial to assess the potential adverse effects and develop strategies to protect athletes from these potential threats.

Citation Style




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