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Mental toughness and athletes’ use of psychological strategies

By Lee Crust and Kayvon Azadi


This study tested the relationship between mental toughness and athletes’ use of psychological performance strategies. A sample of 67 male (M age = 22.55 years, SD = 4.96) and 40 female athletes (M age = 21.08 years, SD = 2.81) acted as participants, and ranged from club / university to national level in a variety of sports. Participants completed the MTQ48 (Clough et al., 2002) to measure mental toughness, and the Test of Performance Strategies (TOPS; Thomas et al., 1999) to measure the use of psychological strategies in practice and competition. Results of Pearson correlations and linear regression analyses revealed that self-talk, emotional control and relaxation strategies were significantly and positively (r = 0.26 to 0.37, P < 0.01) related to mental toughness in both practice and competition. Of the MTQ48 subscales, commitment was found to most frequently load against performance strategies and as such it is possible that the results of this study reflect highly committed performers seeking out performance enhancement strategies. Consistent with theoretical predictions, athletes of county standard and above reported significantly higher levels of mental toughness than club / university athletes (t105 = -2.25, P = 0.03)

Topics: C600 Sports Science, C800 Psychology
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:

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