Thomas Mueller


Department of Communication

Appalachian State University

Boone, North Carolina USA

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"Psychology of Ultrarunning: Evaluating Validation, Social Identity, and Disharmony in the Long-Distance Experience" in the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology

My most recent academic paper "Psychology of Ultrarunning: Evaluating Validation, Social Identity, and Disharmony in the Long-Distance Experience" tells a cautionary tale. Factor analysis of involvement measures collected items that I named in the latent variable "Disharmony." This is related to the dynamics of the sport and potential for participants to take on a narcissistic nature, which ruptures the family dynamic. The dimension was supported in text analysis of open ended responses where the dimension "affect friends and family" was extracted from the content.

"Social action advertising: Motivators and detractors in cause-oriented behaviors" in the Journal of Social Marketing

This study tested consumer involvement with the social action advertisement “You Love Me.” The spot was designed for the Dr. Dre Beats brand, in response to the George Floyd murder in 2020. Brands need to carefully examine their own histories, political associations and concern for all consumer segments, prior to evoking social change. Differentiations arising from political views and gender identity are discussed. "Social ads that use stereotypes” was the key significant predictor of emotional involvement. Consumers feeling “respected and represented in social action ads” was the key significant predictor of fact-based cognitive involvement. “Social action ads distorted through virtue signaling” were 38% more likely to effect brand purchase when consumers viewed the social action ad.

Post traumatic stress leads to violence in "Peaky Blinders" TV series

Just published "Masculinity and PTSD: Violence among Veterans in the BBC Series Peaky Blinders" in the Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric. This essay reflects on the recurrent portrayals of Post-Traumatic Stress Survivors depicted as violent criminals. Character profiles in the series support hegemonic masculinity theory, where men practice domination over other disenfranchised men and hold hierarchy over women. 

Medallion Leadership Award

It was an honor to receive  the 2021 Appalachian State University W.H. Plemmons Leadership Medallion, in recognition of campus leadership for students. This medallion is named in honor of App State’s second president, Dr. William H. Plemmons. The award recognizes the time, energy, skills and commitment of students, faculty, student affairs educators and staff who exceed their peers in providing leadership that enriches the quality of student life and advances the education of students at App State. Much of my work recognized for this award is related to university housing and the Active Living residential  learning community.  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve students, both in and outside the classroom.

"Cancel Culture" published in The Social Science Journal

My recent research project "Blame, then shame? Psychological predictors in cancel culture behavior" has been published in The Social Science Journal.  “If accused, must apologize immediately” was the key significant predictor of overall involvement in cancel culture. Those who demand an apology are more likely to be politically liberal and identify with feminine gender traits. There is an association among a need to know more about a person’s character before making judgment; requiring debate among diverse perspectives; then forgiving those who learn from mistakes. Those who do choose to ‘cancel’ want an apology, then decide to assess personal character for those who commit immoral, illegal or unethical acts. There is a call for accountability, with the understanding society needs a social consensus on moral behavior. 

"Student Resilience" in Journal of American College Health

How can we support and assist students, who are navigating this difficult and unpredictable environment? My paper "Development and Testing of the University Student Resilience Scale" has been published in the Journal of American College Health.  University students are most resilient by relying on friends and family, seeing adversity as a learning opportunity, and helping themselves by helping others. The most highly correlated measures are “positive attitude” and “open mind” while “faith in a higher power” holds a negative relationship with “being responsible for my own problems.” Regression analysis indicates a strong will, not giving up, and maintaining an open mind are predictors of resilience. A 3-factor structural model captures the latent dimensions “Infinite Possibilities,” “Like a Rock” and “Surrounded by Love.”  

"Rebooting Jesus" is an alternative perspective on Christianity

"Rebooting Jesus" is now on Amazon in paperback and Kindle digital versions. When you're writing about one's life journey through Christianity, there will never be a definitive ending. This is my version of a Freethinker's Guide, surely not prescriptive but instead an open invitation to embrace the messy, painful and sometimes shocking journey into Yahweh Eternal Creator. Destruction, genocide, murder. Then without logic, the loving lamb called The Christ, who is brutally executed as an insurrectionist. I'm still hanging onto the faith. Some days are better than others. Is God "love?" Read my book, take the holistic view, I'd like your feedback.

Beyond Binomial: Practical application for gender research

I have been privileged to serve on the board of advisors for Journal of Gender Studies. My lead editorial on understanding gender perceptions and identities within a modern corporate marketing context was published in a recent issue. There are opportunities to link corporate marketing with gender studies researchers; to see the sale of products and services in a broader context across consumer groups.

Utility peak power messaging: Consumer response through social media channels

A portion of my work investing in "social good" has been focused on energy conservation. I was a research associate with Appalachian State's Center for Analytics Research and Education (CARE) and have published on messaging that affects use of peak power - which is dirty and expensive.

A compassionate, ethical approach at university. Students in preparation for a productive future. Doing all we can to support the journey.

Mandela Fellows

Instructor with Mandela Fellows Young African Leaders Initiative. 


Understanding psychological motivators in consumer behavior.

Active Living RLC

Founder of the Active Living Residence Learning Community.

Writing is a precious form of communication. It's a personal test to remain relevant and contribute original points of view. My books are available through Amazon.

My diverse career prior to academics. Motorcycle photojournalist. NASCAR champion's publicity agent. Pro rodeo publicist. Powerboat marketer. Sanctioning body director. Rally cars to ESPN X Games.

Working @ Wasserman Media, Rally America to the 2006 ESPN X Games in Los Angeles. Stadium cross and Angeles Crest Nat'l Forest.

Dale Earnhardt's PR rep '86 and '87 championships. Artwork by my friend Sam Bass. Dale and Sam, gone but never forgotten.

Wrangler sponsored Willie's tour and we later hired him as lead entertainment for the Mercury Marine dealers meeting at Opryland.

Covering national motocross events in the early 1980's. Ten years later Director of Pro Racing @ the American Motorcyclist Association.

A great escape, a regenerative blessing. Endurance sport the past 35 years. Triathlon, to the marathon, ultra distance running, then all forms of bicycling. Too many events to count (nine 100 mile finishes). Health and positive attitude through athletic motion.