This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Differential Effects of Challenge and Hindrance Stressors on Decision Making Performance




Walsh, Julia S.

Type of Degree





The current study proposed differential relationships of challenge and hindrance stressors on decision-making performance based on the 2-dimensional model of stressors, which was expected to be mediated by perceived control, self-efficacy, and effort. Challenge and hindrance stressor conditions were experimentally manipulated by implementing a pay-off matrix that made success on the task seem more difficult in the hindrance stressor condition than the challenge stressor condition. In a sample of 95 learners, levels of felt stress, perceived control, self-efficacy, and negative affect were significantly different between challenge and hindrance stressor conditions in the expected directions. There was also evidence that self-efficacy may have partially mediated the stressor–performance relationship. Decision-making performance was lower in the presence of time pressure for both stressor conditions. Unexpectedly, there were no significant differences in performance across the stressor conditions. Explanations for null results, limitations, and future research directions are discussed.