Liverpool Skyline

School of Education

Prof David Putwain


After graduating in 1994, I taught A level Psychology and Sociology at various schools and colleges in the North West and worked as a senior A level examiner. I completed a PhD examining the stress and anxiety experienced by students preparing for their GCSE examinations in 2006. I worked at Edge Hill University 2006 - 2016 and moved to Liverpool John Moores University in May 2016.

My research interests focus on how psychological factors influence, and in turn are influenced by learning and achievement. I have a particular focus on motivation, emotion, engagement, and the learning environment.


2006, University of Manchester, United Kingdom, PhD
2002, University of Manchester, United Kingdom, MSc, Applied Psychology
1998, University of Greenwich, United Kingdom, PGCE, Further Education
1994, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom, BSc (Hons), Psychology

Academic appointments

Professor of Education and Early Childhood Studies, School of Education, Liverpool John Moores University, 2016 - present


Journal article

Putwain DW, von der Embse NP. 2018. Teachers use of fear appeals and timing reminders prior to high-stakes examinations: pressure from above, below, and within Social Psychology of Education, :1-19 >DOI

Nicholson LJ, Putwain DW, Nakhla G, Porter B, Liversidge A, Reece M. 2018. A Person-Centered Approach to Students' Evaluations of Perceived Fear Appeals and Their Association With Engagement Journal of Experimental Education, :1-22 >DOI

Putwain D. 2018. Editorial Educational Psychology, 38 :117-119 >DOI

Putwain DW. 2018. An examination of the self-referent executive processing model of test anxiety: control, emotional regulation, self-handicapping, and examination performance European Journal of Psychology of Education, :1-18 >DOI

McGeown S, St Clair-Thompson H, Putwain DW. 2018. The Development and Validation of a Mental Toughness Scale for Adolescents JOURNAL OF PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENT, 36 :148-161 >DOI >Link

Putwain D, Becker S, Symes W, Pekrun R. 2018. Reciprocal relations between students’ academic enjoyment, boredom, and achievement over time Learning and Instruction, >DOI

St Clair-Thompson H, Giles R, McGeown SP, Putwain D, Clough P, Perry J. 2017. Mental toughness and transitions to high school and to undergraduate study Educational Psychology, 37 :792-809 >DOI

McGeown S, Putwain D, St Clair-Thompson H, Clough P. 2017. UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORTING ADOLESCENTS’ MENTAL TOUGHNESS IN AN EDUCATION CONTEXT Psychology in the Schools, 54 :196-209 >DOI

Flitcroft D, Woods K, Putwain D. 2017. Developing school practice in preparing students for high-stake examinations in english and mathematics Educational and Child Psychology, 34 :7-19

Putwain DW, Pescod M. 2017. Is Reducing Uncertain Control the Key to Successful Test Anxiety Intervention for Secondary School Students? Findings From a Randomized Control Trial School Psychology Quarterly, >DOI

Putwain DW, Nakhla G, Liversidge A, Nicholson LJ, Porter B, Reece M. 2017. Teachers use of fear appeals prior to a high-stakes examination: Is frequency linked to perceived student engagement and how do students respond? TEACHING AND TEACHER EDUCATION, 61 :73-83 >DOI >Link

Nicholson LJ, Putwain DW. 2016. The importance of psychological need satisfaction in educational re-engagement Research Papers in Education, :1-18 >DOI

Putwain DW, Symes W, Remedios R. 2016. The impact of fear appeals on subjective-task value and academic self-efficacy: The role of appraisal LEARNING AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, 51 :307-313 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Aveyard B. 2016. Is Perceived Control a Critical Factor in Understanding the Negative Relationship Between Cognitive Test Anxiety and Examination Performance? School Psychology Quarterly, >DOI

Putwain DW, Symes W, Wilkinson HM. 2016. Fear appeals, engagement, and examination performance: The role of challenge and threat appraisals. Br J Educ Psychol, >DOI >Link

Putwain D, Remedios R, Symes W. 2016. The appraisal of fear appeals as threatening or challenging: frequency of use, academic self-efficacy and subjective value EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 36 :1670-1690 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Symes W. 2016. Expectancy of success, subjective task-value, and message frame in the appraisal of value-promoting messages made prior to a high-stakes examination Social Psychology of Education, 19 :325-343 >DOI

Symes W, Putwain DW. 2016. The role of attainment value, academic self-efficacy, and message frame in the appraisal ofvalue-promoting messages BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 86 :446-460 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Daly AL, Chamberlain S, Sadreddini S. 2016. “‘Sink or swim’: buoyancy and coping in the cognitive test anxiety–academic performance relationship” Educational Psychology, 36 :1807-1825 >DOI

Putwain DW, Sander P. 2016. Does the confidence of first-year undergraduate students change over time according to achievement goal profile? STUDIES IN HIGHER EDUCATION, 41 :381-398 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Nicholson LJ, Nakhla G, Reece M, Porter B, Liversidge A. 2016. Fear appeals prior to a high-stakes examination can have a positive or negative impact on engagement depending on how the message is appraised Contemporary Educational Psychology, 44-45 :21-31 >DOI

Putwain DW, Nicholson LJ, Edwards JL. 2016. Hard to reach and hard to teach: supporting the self-regulation of learning in an alternative provision secondary school Educational Studies, 42 :1-18 >DOI

de la Fuente J, Zapata L, Martínez-Vicente JM, Sander P, Putwain D. 2015. Personal self-regulation, Self-regulated learning and coping strategies, In university context with stress Intelligent Systems Reference Library, 76 :223-255 >DOI

Flanagan MJ, Putwain DW, Caltabiano ML. 2015. The Relationship Between Goal Setting and Students' Experience of Academic Test Anxiety International Journal of School & Educational Psychology, 3 :189-201 >DOI

von der Embse NP, Putwain DW. 2015. Examining the context of instruction to facilitate student success School Psychology International, 36 :552-558 >DOI

Symes W, Putwain DW, Remedios R. 2015. The enabling and protective role of academic buoyancy in the appraisal of fear appeals used prior to high stakes examinations School Psychology International, 36 :605-619 >DOI

Putwain DW, Daly AL, Chamberlain S, Sadreddini S. 2015. Academically buoyant students are less anxious about and perform better in high-stakes examinations British Journal of Educational Psychology, 85 :247-263 >DOI

Putwain DW, Remedios R, Symes W. 2015. Experiencing fear appeals as a challenge or a threat influences attainment value and academic self-efficacy Learning and Instruction, 40 :21-28 >DOI

Putwain D, Remedios R. 2014. Fear appeals used prior to a high-stakes examination: What makes them threatening? Learning and Individual Differences, 36 :145-151 >DOI

Putwain D, Daly AL. 2014. Test anxiety prevalence and gender differences in a sample of English secondary school students EDUCATIONAL STUDIES, 40 :554-570 >DOI >Link

Putwain D, Chamberlain S, Daly AL, Sadreddini S. 2014. Reducing test anxiety among school-aged adolescents: a field experiment Educational Psychology in Practice, 30 :420-440 >DOI

McGeown SP, Putwain D, Simpson EG, Boffey E, Markham J, Vince A. 2014. Predictors of adolescents' academic motivation: Personality, self-efficacy and adolescents' characteristics LEARNING AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, 32 :278-286 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Shah J, Lewis R. 2014. Performance-Evaluation Threat Does Not Adversely Affect Verbal Working Memory in High Test-Anxious Persons Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 13 :120-136 >DOI

Putwain D, Remedios R. 2014. The Scare Tactic: Do Fear Appeals Predict Motivation and Exam Scores? SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY QUARTERLY, 29 :503-516 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Symes W. 2014. The perceived value of maths and academic self-efficacy in the appraisal of fear appeals used prior to a high-stakes test as threatening or challenging SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY OF EDUCATION, 17 :229-248 >DOI >Link

Sander P, Putwain D, Fuente JDL. 2013. Using structural equation modelling to understand predictors of undergraduate students' academic performance International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, 9 :219-241 >DOI

Nicholson L, Putwain D, Connors L, Hornby-Atkinson P. 2013. The key to successful achievement as an undergraduate student: confidence and realistic expectations? STUDIES IN HIGHER EDUCATION, 38 :285-298 >DOI >Link

Putwain D, Sander P, Larkin D. 2013. Academic self-efficacy in study-related skills and behaviours: Relations with learning-related emotions and academic success BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 83 :633-650 >DOI >Link

de la Fuente J, Sander P, Putwain D. 2013. Relationship between Undergraduate Student Confidence, Approach to Learning and Academic Performance: The Role of Gender REVISTA DE PSICODIDACTICA, 18 :375-393 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Sander P, Larkin D. 2013. Using the 2 x 2 framework of achievement goals to predict achievement emotions and academic performance LEARNING AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, 25 :80-84 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Larkin D, Sander P. 2013. A reciprocal model of achievement goals and learning related emotions in the first year of undergraduate study CONTEMPORARY EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 38 :361-374 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Daly AL. 2013. Do clusters of test anxiety and academic buoyancy differentially predict academic performance? LEARNING AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, 27 :157-162 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Nicholson LJ, Connors L, Woods K. 2013. Resilient children are less test anxious and perform better in tests at the end of primary schooling LEARNING AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, 28 :41-46 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Roberts CM. 2012. Fear and efficacy appeals in the classroom: the secondary teachers' perspective EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 32 :355-372 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Connors L, Symes W, Douglas-Osborn E. 2012. Is academic buoyancy anything more than adaptive coping? ANXIETY STRESS AND COPING, 25 :349-358 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Symes W. 2012. Achievement goals as mediators of the relationship between competence beliefs and test anxiety BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 82 :207-224 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Kearsley R, Symes W. 2012. Do creativity self-beliefs predict literacy achievement and motivation? LEARNING AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, 22 :370-374 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Best N. 2012. Do highly test anxious students respond differentially to fear appeals made prior to a test? Research in Education, 88 :1-10 >DOI

Putwain DW, Connors L, Woods K, Nicholson LJ. 2012. Stress and anxiety surrounding forthcoming Standard Assessment Tests in English schoolchildren Pastoral Care in Education, 30 :289-302 >DOI

Putwain D, Symes W. 2011. Perceived fear appeals and examination performance: Facilitating or debilitating outcomes? LEARNING AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, 21 :227-232 >DOI >Link

Putwain D, Whiteley H, Caddick L. 2011. Thematic versus subject-based curriculum delivery and achievement goals: findings from a single-school study EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, 53 :387-398 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Langdale HC, Woods KA, Nicholson LJ. 2011. Developing and piloting a dot-probe measure of attentional bias for test anxiety LEARNING AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, 21 :478-482 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Symes W. 2011. Teachers' use of fear appeals in the Mathematics classroom: Worrying or motivating students? BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 81 :456-474 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Best N. 2011. Fear appeals in the primary classroom: Effects on test anxiety and test grade LEARNING AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, 21 :580-584 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW. 2011. How is examination stress experienced by secondary students preparing for their General Certificate of Secondary Education examinations and how can it be explained? International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 24 :717-731 >DOI

Putwain DW, Woods KA, Symes W. 2010. Personal and situational predictors of test anxiety of students in post-compulsory education BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 80 :137-160 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Connors L, Symes W. 2010. Do cognitive distortions mediate the test anxiety-examination performance relationship? EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 30 :11-26 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Daniels RA. 2010. Is the relationship between competence beliefs and test anxiety influenced by goal orientation? LEARNING AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, 20 :8-13 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW. 2009. Situated and Contextual Features of Test Anxiety in UK Adolsecent Students SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY INTERNATIONAL, 30 :56-74 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW. 2009. Situated and Contextual Features of Test Anxiety in UK Adolsecent Students School Psychology International, 30 :56-74 >DOI

Putwain DW. 2009. Assessment and examination stress in Key Stage 4 BRITISH EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNAL, 35 :391-411 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Roberts CM. 2009. The development of an instrument to measure teachers' use of fear appeals in the GCSE classroom BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 79 :643-661 >DOI >Link

Putwain D. 2008. Examination stress and test anxiety PSYCHOLOGIST, 21 :1026-1029 >Link

Putwain DW. 2008. Test anxiety and GCSE performance: the effect of gender and socio‐economic background Educational Psychology in Practice, 24 :319-334 >DOI

Putwain D. 2008. Do examinations stakes moderate the test anxiety - examination performance relationship? EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 28 :109-118 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW. 2008. Supporting assessment stress in key stage 4 students EDUCATIONAL STUDIES, 34 :83-95 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW. 2008. Deconstructing test anxiety Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, 13 :141-155 >DOI

Putwain D. 2007. Researching academic stress and anxiety in students: some methodological considerations BRITISH EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNAL, 33 :207-219 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW. 2007. Test anxiety in UK schoolchildren: Prevalence and demographic patterns BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 77 :579-593 >DOI >Link

Putwain DW, Symes W. Does Increased Effort Compensate for Performance Debilitating Test Anxiety? School Psychology Quarterly,

Editorial/letter to the editor

Putwain DW. 2017. Editorial EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 37 :521-523 >DOI >Link


McGeown SP, Clair-Thompson HS, Putwain D, Clough P. 2016. Individual differences in education outcomes: Applying a model of mental toughness Psychology of Individual Differences: New Research :69-92 9781634845397

de la Fuente J, Sander P, López M, Putwain D. 2015. The relationship between academic confidence, approach to learning, self-regulation, stress coping and resilience in the university undergraduate Advances in Psychology Research 112 :31-45 9781634834681

Kinsella C, Putwain D, Kaye L. 2015. Can arts-based education help re-engage excluded learners?: A case study of an arts-based programme aimed at enhancing educational engagement Brewer G, Hogarth R. Creative Education, Teaching and Learning: Creativity, Engagement and the Student Experience. :290-306 Palgrave Macmillan. London

Fuente JDL, Cardelle-Elawar M, Sander P, Putwain D. 2013. Action-emotion style, test anxiety and resilience in undergraduate students Student Learning: Improving Practice :139-149 9781626188877


McInerney DM, Putwain DW. 2016. Developmental and educational psychology for teachers: An applied approach: Second edition :1-335 9781317365662 >DOI

Engagement & Impact

Conference organisation:

British Psychological Society, Psychology of Education Section Annual Conference, 'The role of competence beliefs in teaching and learning', Chair

Editorial boards:

Learning and Individual Differences, Associate Editor,

Educational Psychology, Associate Editor

External collaboration:, BBC, BBC Learning - Bitesize. Smart Revision Advice

External committees:

Psychology of Education Section Committee, British Psychological Society, Chair

External PGR Supervision - completed students:

University of Manchester, Professional Doctorate, Developing school practice in preparing students for high-stake examinations in English and Mathematics

University of Manchester, Professional Doctorate, Teacher language in the primary classroom: An exploration of the language used by teachers when preparing children aged 6 – 11 for important tests

Edge Hill University, PhD, An exploratory mixed-methods study of student incivility in higher education classrooms

University of Munich, PhD, Situating Emotions in the Context of Mathematics

Edge Hill University, PhD, Re-engaging students in a pupil referral unit through the arts-based curriculum

Media Coverage:

BBC One Show: How to Beat Exam Stress with Mindfulness, Yoga and Pet Therapy (Broadcast 19th June)

Other invited event:

ITE Mentor Programme, University of Manchester, What do teachers say to What do teachers say to students before important exams, do students listen, and what impact does it have?

Research2Teaching Seminar, Aspire Academy, Macclesfield, What do teachers say to What do teachers say to students before important exams, do students listen, and what impact does it have?

ResearchED Conference, Huntington School, York, What do teachers say to What do teachers say to students before important exams, do students listen, and what impact does it have?

Research Grants Awarded:

British Academy, Assessing and Supporting the Wellbeing of Students Preparing for their GSCEs, Grant value (£): £9,757, Duration of research project: 2 Years

British Academy, “Why should I bother working for my GCSEs?”: Students views of teacher encouragement, Richard Remedios, University of Durham, Grant value (£): £9097, Duration of research project: 1 Year