Goal difficulty and creative performance: the mediating role of stress appraisal

Andrea Espedido, Ben J. Searle*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    We investigated whether the effect of goal difficulty on creativity may be clarified by examining how people appraise their working conditions. In an experiment, 157 undergraduate students completed a divergent thinking task for which goal difficulty was manipulated. Stress appraisals were assessed through self-reports, and creativity was evaluated by independent judges. Results indicated that difficult goals, although categorized as a challenge stressor, can also be appraised as a hindrance and/or a threat. Although there was a direct positive effect of difficult goals on creative performance, hindrance appraisals partially mediated a negative relationship between goal difficulty and creative performance. Results highlight that stress appraisals can help clarify inconsistent effects of stressors, with implications for managing creativity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)179-196
    Number of pages18
    JournalHuman Performance
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2018


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