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A review and conceptual re-examination of mental toughness: implications for future researchers

By Lee Crust


This paper provides a review of mental toughness research and examines the major conceptual concerns that are evident in current mental toughness literature. Despite more rigorous scientific approaches to the study of mental toughness, a number of limitations are apparent: these include the assumption that elite or super elite performers are mentally tough (failure to provide objective measures), focusing research solely on elite or super elite performers, appearing to conceptualise mental toughness in absolute rather than relative terms, and ignoring contextual differences. Comparisons are made with research developments in the related concept of hardiness. It is argued that more innovative approaches to research are required to further develop knowledge. This should include more experimental studies, longitudinal research, psychophysiological approaches, and testing the influence of mental toughness in contexts outside sport performance. Further efforts to understand how mental toughness develops are encouraged. With recent advances in instruments to measure mental toughness, further quantitative research is deemed appropriate. The efficacy of proposed methods of enhancing mental toughness such as environmental manipulations, and mental skills training approaches need to be evaluated if the gap between theoretical research and practice is to be bridged

Topics: C600 Sports Science
Publisher: Elsevier Limited
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.paid.2008.07.005
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lincoln.ac.uk:2532

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