ArticlePDF Available

The Effects of Psychological Skills Training on Mental Toughness and Psychological Well-Being of Student-Athletes

Authors:
Psychology, 2016, 7, 901-913
Published Online June 2016 in SciRes. http://www.scirp.org/journal/psych
http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/psych.2016.76092
How to cite this paper: Golby, J., & Wood, P. (2016). The Effects of Psychological Skills Training on Mental Toughness and
Psychological Well-Being of Student-Athletes. Psychology, 7, 901-913. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/psych.2016.76092
The Effects of Psychological Skills
Training on Mental Toughness
and Psychological Well-Being
of Student-Athletes
Jim Golby, Phillippa Wood*
Carnegie School of Sport, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK
Received 28 April 2016; accepted 19 June 2016; published 22 June 2016
Copyright © 2016 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY).
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Abstract
This study examined the effects of a psychological skills intervention (PST) designed to enhance
the mental toughness and psychological well-being of student-athlete rowers (N = 16). Within this
context, PWB was conceptualized by an amalgamation of the following psychological constructs;
self-esteem, perceived self-efficacy, positive affect and dispositional optimism. Progress was ex-
amined at three times evenly dispersed over the course of the six-month intervention, pre-, mid-
and post-intervention. The intervention was solution-focused and informed by Dweck’s (2009)
theory of a growth mindset and Goldberg’s (1998) psychological strategies to develop mental
toughness. The study design was a 2 (group) × 3 (time) two-way MANOVA with repeated measures
on one factor (time). Various measures of mental toughness and positive psychological constructs
were utilised. Over the course of the intervention, MT significantly improved, in addition to per-
ceived self-efficacy, self-esteem and positive affect. Positive significant relationships were ob-
served between components of MT and each of the positive measures; which lends support to the
conceptualization of MT as a positive psychological construct which fosters positive psychological
states (Clough & Strycharczyk, 2012). Further research is warranted to examine the development
of MT on negative psychological constructs.
Keywords
Mental Toughness, Psychological Well-Being, Positive Psychology, Psychological Skills Training
*
Corresponding author.
J. Golby, P. Wood
902
1. Introduction
1.1. The Concept of Mental Toughness
The concept of mental toughness (MT) originated from the literature on hardiness (Maddi, 2002). Hardiness is
defined by three characteristics; commitment (an involvement in life regardless of stress), control (made evident
by a belief that the individual has the power to influence outcomes) and challenge (viewing it as a positive op-
portunity to develop and grow; Kobasa, 1979; Maddi, 2006). With these constructs in common (Golby & Sheard,
2004; Sheard, 2009), both hardiness and mental toughness possess the propensity to enhance performance,
whilst evoking a buffering effect against psychological distress (Gerber et al., 2013; Sheard, 2012). Clough and
colleagues (2002) drew attention to a prominent discrepancy, arguing that hardiness failed to capture the
“unique nature of the physical and mental demands of competitive sport” (Sheard, 2012: p. 61), whereas mental
toughness could better account for this with the inclusion of confidence as a dominant construct. An “unshakea-
ble belief in ones abilities” is a pertinent feature of MT and widely supported to be key to athletic success (Lane,
2014). Definitional consensus of MT is yet to be established (Gucciardi et al., 2015) however the four key
attributes alluded to within this paper are supported throughout the extant literature (Bull et al., 2005; Clough et
al., 2002; Gucciardi et al., 2008), in addition to other qualities such as positive cognition, the ability to visualize
success and constancy when in the pursuit of goals (Golby, Sheard, & van Wersch, 2007; Sheard, Golby, & van
Wersch, 2009).
1.2. Mental Toughness as a Proponent of Positive Psychology
Whilst researchers have been examining the defining of mental toughness, many have also explored suitable pa-
radigms. Extensive research supports the application of MT to the paradigm of Positive Psychology (PP) espe-
cially within the context of sport. Positive psychology closely examines orientations of psychological well-being
(PWB; Lambert, Passmore, & Holder, 2015) and generates knowledge which endeavors to increase human flou-
rishing and thriving (Hefferon, 2013: p. 2). MT appears to imitate these effects amongst athletic populations.
Research to support this alludes to the promotion of markers of psychological health as a result of self-reported
MT (Rusk & Waters, 2013). Stamp et al. (2015) noted a close association between MT and constructs closely
associated to psychological well-being, such as positive affect (Mahoney et al., 2014) and dispositional flow
(Crust & Swann, 2013).
When examining PWB, the literature advises the use of both hedonic (assessment of positive emotions and
sensations) and eudemonic (measuring constructs which enhance a great sense of life satisfaction; Russel, 2007)
related measures (Henderson & Knight, 2012; Huta & Ryan, 2010). Dispositional optimism and positive affect
are categorised as hedonic. However they differ in the sense that positive affect is derived from a bottom-up
theory of PSW which suggests that it is the accumulation of positive affective experiences which dictate the
overall sense of wellness. Alternatively, dispositional optimism encompasses a top-down approach as it assesses
PWB as an innate propensity to view the world in a certain way (Lambert, Passmore, & Holder, 2015). Per-
ceived self-efficacy and self-esteem are more closely related to eudemonic strands; self-efficacy beliefs are in-
trinsically linked to autonomy and a greater sense of control outlined by the Self-Determination (Ryan & Deci,
2000); whereas self-esteem relates to self-acceptance which is highlighted in Ryff’s theory of psychological
well-being (Ryff, 1989). Both positive constructs represent cognitions which may prove useful to individuals
looking to bolster their psychological health and create a more satisfactory life. Thus, the inclusion of each of
the four measures within the present study provided a comprehensive view of the participant’s state of psycho-
logical well-being.
1.3. Implications of Psychological Skills Training for Student-Athlete’s Psychological
Health
Protection and promotion of psychological well-being is of the utmost importance to student-athletes; unlike
other athletic groups, student-athletes have the challenging task of balancing athletic, social, as well as academic
commitments (Surujlal, Van Zyl, & Nolan, 2013). Unique stressors this population face include the demands of
a regimented schedule (Carodine, Almond & Gretto, 2001) and the experience of mental as well as physical fa-
tigue (Van Zyl, Surujlal, & Singh, 2009). In addition common athlete stressors such as seclusion from social
encounters (Martens et al., 2006) and lack of security due to the persistent prospect of being eliminated from the
J. Golby, P. Wood
903
squad (Ford, 2007). Additionally, the age of the average student-athlete population coincides with the age of
onset for many common psychological disorders (e.g., depression and anxiety) (UK Royal College of Psychiatr-
ists, 2011). Enhanced psychological well-being has been found to coincide with a reduction in negative emo-
tional and physical states, which helps athletes create the optimum training environment, to foster performance
(Hardy et al., 1996). Coaches and practitioners are now recognizing the importance of psychological, as well as
physical health (e.g., Mahoney et al., 2014) and despite psychological well-being being identified as important
by practitioners from the Institute of Sport, pragmatic interventions to protect and promote psychological
well-being are rarely documented; recently, they urged fellow practitioners “to evolve to meet this demand”
(Marshall & Harrison, 2015).
An earlier study found psychological skills training increased mental toughness, promoted psychological de-
velopment, and aided the performance of adolescent swimmers (Sheard & Golby, 2006). The present study built
upon this research by employing equivalent strategies and positive measures amongst an arguably more vulner-
able athletic sample to assess the psychological implications. One key discriminating factor was the implicit ap-
plication of Dweck’s theory of a growth mindset (2012). This theory defines two binary mindsets and their as-
sociation to performance, namely fixed and growth. Within the context of sport, a fixed mindset attributes supe-
rior performance to natural ability, therefore hours of practise are redundant and avoidance of failure is a top
priority. Alternatively, an athlete with a growth mindset believes reaching ones potential is a result of consistent
effort and practise, supporting the view that failure should be embraced as an opportunity to identify and de-
velop weaknesses (Dweck, 2009).
Interventions designed to foster a growth-mindset include subtle strategies such as modifying feedback,
avoiding statements which attribute success to innate qualities and instead praising effort and practise (Ratten et
al., 2015). Within this study the analysis of past performance was also encouraged so weaknesses could be iden-
tified and targeted, instilling the belief that consistent practise is the key to success, in turn promoting a growth
mindset and healthier attitude towards failure (Dweck, 2009). Encouraging a growth mindset has been found to
foster psychologically safe learning environments (Spitzer & Aronson, 2015). The utilisation of the simplistic
strategies mentioned has generated significant improvements in motivation and performance; despite not being
the panacea for poor performance, they appeared to prime individuals to perceive and respond to situations in a
more efficient manner (Dweck, 2012; Rattan et al., 2015; Yeager et al., 2016). Beyond anecdotal evidence,
studies have reported neurological differences, those allocated to the growth mindset condition demonstrated
greater error-related attention allocation, whereas the fixed mindset group attended to adaptive post-error per-
formance to a greater extent. This highlights how a growth mindset increases awareness of weaknesses/mistakes
(Schroder et al., 2014). The notion of a growth mindset is supported by newly emerging research on the neuro-
plasticity of mature brains (Yamaguchi et al., 2016) which demonstrate how adult brains form new neural path-
ways and develop in response to practise (Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-Romer, 1993).
There is evidence that mental toughness can be developed in a number of ways (Bull et al., 2005), however
there is no research to date identifying the superiority of any method (Clough & Strycharczyk, 2012). Psycho-
logical skills training remains one of the most utilized procedures which has been demonstrated simultaneously
to foster positive psychological development (Beauchemin, 2014; Williams & Krane, 2001). This makes it a fa-
vourable approach for the vulnerable athletic populations (e.g., Olympic athletes, student-athletes). PST was
developed to enhance performance by providing athletes with an enhanced sense of control over effective
movement coordination during training and competition (Martens, 1987; Rushall, 1992) and is underpinned by
cognitive-behavioural techniques (e.g., Meichenbaum, 1977). The present study adopted a collaborative, adap-
tive approach, whereby assessments of the psychometric measures of mental toughness were used to assess and
identify weakness from the onset and throughout the intervention, to inform the content of subsequent PST ses-
sions. This approach made better use of the restricted time and enhanced the individualisation of the psycholog-
ical skills training session
1.4. Purpose
This study was designed to examine the effects of PST on MT and psychological well-being amongst a sample
of female student-rowers over the course of the competitive season. More specifically, to assess whether PST
improved MT in addition to constructs closely associated to psychological well-being. Furthermore, the purpose
of secondary analysis was to examine the relationship between MT and PWB.
J. Golby, P. Wood
904
2. Method
2.1. Procedure
Informed consent was received and participants were reassured of their right to withdraw at any time in accor-
dance with the BPS Code of Ethics (BPS, 2009). Due to training and academic commitments, allocated session
time was limited to four sessions of approximately one and a half hours duration; thus replicating real-world
conditions. In conjunction with group-based sessions, each participant received one-to-one support via e-mail.
There was approximately three months between each group session which attenuated any potential learning ef-
fects.
The initial session included an introduction from the researchers and discussion around the concept of mental
toughness and positive psychological well-being, applied to their chosen sport. Prior to this, the first measure-
ments were conducted online; similar methods have been utilised within the nascent literature (Gucciardi et al.,
2016). The software package SurveyMonkey (SurveyMonkey Inc., 1999-2016) was used to administer the
measures of MT and PWB electronically via the coach to the participant’s personal e-mail. There were 96 ques-
tions in total. Pilot testing (N = 5) reported an average completion time of 20 minutes. Each participant was in-
formed of the importance of completing the questionnaire independently, in an open and honest manner, whilst
being reassured of the confidentiality of their data. The participants were asked to complete the survey in their
own time prior to the following session. To ensure subsequent sessions catered for the requirements of the squad,
the survey results informed their focus. The data indicated very low levels of confidence, the researchers then
collaborated with the coaches to confirm this and then dedicated time to constructing the following session. The
work of Goldberg (1998) informed the structure and content of the session (Sheard & Golby, 2006).
Three months later, the squad were invited to attend the subsequent session designed to enhance the facet of
MT in which performed least well, self-confidence. Each rower was granted permission to take notes throughout.
Upon completion of the session they were advised to practise the skills they had learnt during the following
weeks, and to log their progress in a journal. A journal was advised to promote self-reflection, however to pro-
mote confidentiality there was no measures in place to assess journal completion, or content. Immediately after
the session, each participant was sent the link to the second questionnaire, which they were asked to complete in
their own time. The questionnaire was a replication of the first however questions were randomised to reduce
the effects of familiarity (Martin, 2008). The same method of analysis and collaboration was employed to for-
mulate the following session. Based on previous findings the penultimate session was designed to continue to
build confidence and promote positive cognitions (with a particular focus on reducing negative thoughts regard-
ing their ability to perform at their important upcoming race). Participants were advised to practise and reflect
on the skills discussed in the sessions. Immediately after, the surveys were distributed in the same manner.
Two months later the final session was held whereby participants were fully debriefed and questions or que-
ries were addressed in this session (see Table 1 for session content and rationale).
2.2. Participants
Access to the sample of rowers was granted on the terms that each rower received one-to-one psychological
support over the course of the competitive season. The female rowers (N = 16) including regional and national
level performers, voluntarily participated (ages ranged from 18 - 31 years, M = 21.42, SD = 3.75). From an ini-
tial intake of N = 31, N = 16 completed in all three assessments and psychological skills training sessions.
2.3. Measures
2.3.1. Mental Toughness
The Sports-related Mental Toughness Questionnaire (SMTQ; Sheard, Golby & van Wersch, 2009) is a 12-item
tool and one of the first psychometrically-sound tools to measure sports-related MT. The sub-categories origi-
nated from themes and definitions of qualitative data (see Clough et al., 2002; Jones et al., 2002; Thelwell et al.,
2005 for details). The measure includes dimensions of confidence, constancy and control. This was used in con-
junction with The Psychological Performance Inventory - Alternative (PPI-A; Golby, Sheard & van Werch,
2007), which is a 14-item measure adapted from the Psychological Performance Inventory (Loehr, 1986) which
calculates a total measure of mental toughness, as well as four independent sub-components (namely self-belief
and determination, in addition to psychological skills such as positive cognitive and visualisation). Adequate
J. Golby, P. Wood
905
Table 1. Session content and rationale for use of specific strategies and techniques.
Session Content Rationale/Advice from Goldberg (1998)
1
Personal Introductions Lead and supporting researcher introduce themselves to the group, provide a background and focus
on building a rapport.
Purpose of the PST Highlight the importance of psychological characteristics in rowing, concepts of psychological
well-being and mental toughness introduced.
Logbook
Athletes were asked to record their physical and psychological preparations, progress, general
thoughts and concerns in a personal logbook. They were advised to keep this up to date and granted
the freedom to complete this however they wished. This practise has been found to increase athlete’s
sense of self-awareness (Hardy, Roberts & Hardy, 2009), developing an awareness of one’s
cognitions is a fundamental part of psychological skills training (Gould, 1998).
Assessment 1—Rowers received a link to the online survey (October 14th 2014)
2
Feedback from the squad’s
first psychometric
assessment
As a squad, from the psychological constructs assessed, confidence was particularly low. This is
understandable due to the nascent nature of the squad and lack of success to date. Placing this into
context, the Lead Researcher discussed the importance of formulating task-oriented goals, which
focus on mastery; rather than ego-oriented goals driven by success, encouraging athletes to aspire
to perform better than their previous each time.
Technique 1:
Self-Talk
This session outlined how self-talk is nothing more than internal dialogue/thoughts (Bunker,
Williams & Zinnser, 1993). Following this, the lead discussed the implications of negative self-talk
on athletic performance, drawing upon real life examples from professional practise and asked
athletes to become more aware of their thoughts during practise and performance, whilst
monitoring which thoughts hinder and which seem to facilitate their performance.
Technique 2:
Thought-stopping
This is an inhibition strategy whereby athletes use a verbal or nonverbal cue to acknowledge and
suspend unhelpful thoughts (Zinsser et al., 2010). The disruption of the thought has been found to
increase the athlete’s sense of self-awareness - however rowers were made aware of the detrimental
effects which may arise when they focus on what “not” to think (i.e., hyper accessibility).
Technique 3:
Thought Control
To avoid “hyper accessibility” (Wegner & Erber, 1992) athletes were informed not to consciously
try to diminish the thought, but to demonstrate an awareness and observe it passing through their
consciousness. Athletes were advised to incorporate idiosyncratic positive, supportive thoughts,
daily (Gould, 1998: p. 29). Such as “I will always strive to do the best I can”.
Technique 4:
Concentration
Skills & Focus
The rowers were introduced to the “here and now principal”, importance of “controlling their eyes
and ears” and effective ways to do this (e.g., performance rituals). They were asked to consider
what performance rituals they currently engage with to help get “in the zone”.
Assessment 2
3
Feedback from the squad’s
second psychometric
assessment
Confidence had improved but it was still relatively low, visualisation was still quite low at this point
too. Feedback and session content was geared towards enhancing confidence in preparation for the
rowers upcoming race.
Building self-confidence
- Awareness of “U”
According to Goldstein (1998) confidence is the product of hard work. Psychological skills and a
positive outlook must be accompanied by consistent effort and dedication to training. The
“no deposit, no return” formula was discussed with the athletes.
Technique 5:
Expect success and
Positive imagery
This session touched upon the importance of expecting success after doing all you can to perform to
your best and introduced athletes to coping and mastery imagery (including ways in which they can
be implemented and the importance of ample practise and individual reflection). Imagery works well
for some athletes, and not so well for others, therefore athletes were advised to practise different
techniques at different times (days before a race versus just before the race), to decipher “what
works best”.
Individual sessions to reiterate the information covered and address personal issues and concerns
Assessment 3
4 Psychometric scores The athletes received the squads results over the three assessments, the findings were interpreted by
the lead researcher.
Debrief of the session Athletes were fully debriefed of the nature of the research and questions were welcomed.
J. Golby, P. Wood
906
psychometric properties have been reported for both measures (Golby et al., 2007; Sheard et al., 2009) and the
approach of applying both has been applied within the extant literature (Chen & Cheesman, 2013; Wieser &
Thiel, 2014).
2.3.2. Psychological Well-Being
Self-esteem: The Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (RSES; Rosenberg, 1965) was used, the RSES is a 10-item
measure which denotes a global feeling of self-worth utilising a four-point Likert scale ranging from “strongly
agree” to “strongly disagree” to statements such as “I feel I have a number of good qualities”.
Perceived self-efficacy: Self-efficacy was assessed using The Generalised Self-Efficacy Scale (GSES;
Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1993). The GSES is a 10-item measure based on a Four-point Likert scale whereby
agreement is categorised as “not at all true”, progressing through to “extremely true” to statements such as “I am
confident I could deal efficiently with unexpected events”.
Dispositional optimism: The Life Orientation Test (LOT; Scheier & Carver, 1985) was administered to ex-
amine dispositional optimism. The LOT is contrived of eight items on a Five-point Likert scale. The items de-
note level of agreement ranging from “I agree a lot” to “I disagree a lot” to statements such as “most days, life is
really interesting for me”.
Positive affect: The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PA-NAS, Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988) was
used to assess experiences of positive affective states. The PANAS is a 20-item measure based on a Five-point
Likert scale. Each item requires the participant to retrospectively sum-up the degree to which they feel a certain
way (i.e., interested, inspired…). Items range from “not at all to” to “extremely”. Adequate psychometric prop-
erties have been reported for each of the four measures (Makikangas & Kinnunen, 2003; Schwarzer & Jersalem,
1993; Iwanaga et al., 2004; Crocker, 1997).
2.4. Design
A 2 (group) × 3 (time) two-way MANOVA with repeated measures on one factor (time) was implemented. The
two levels of the independent group variable of perceived performance was senior boat rowers (N = 4), versus
the remaining rowers. The three levels of the repeated time variable were classified as pre-, mid- and post-in-
tervention.
2.5. Statistical Analysis
Analysis was conducted using SPSS 21.0. The data was screened for normality and outliers. Significant correla-
tions were interpreted with Pearson’s moment-correlation (Hinkle, Wiersma, & Jurs, 1998) and a two-way mul-
tivariate analysis of variance with repeated measures on one factor (time) was administered followed by
post-hoc testing to examine differences. As the success of psychological skills training was dependent not only
on the progress of the squad, but each participant’s progress, the reliable change index (RCI; Jacobson and
Traux, 1991) was calculated (Zahra, 2010). This warranted a test-retest study on a representative sample of stu-
dent-athletes (N = 30) over a two-week period. Due to the limited sample size, a two-way random effect inter-
class correlation was used to establish a measure of reliability for both measures of MT (SMTQ; ICC(3) = 0.915,
p < 0.001 and PPI-A; ICC(3) = 0.948, p < 0.001) (see Table 2 for reliability statistics).
3. Results
Descriptive statistics suggested a discernible improvement over time in MT, self-efficacy, positive affect, self-
esteem and dispositional optimism; however not all improvements were statistically significantly (see Table 3
Table 2. Reliability statistics.
Measure Alpha Pearson’s correlation
co-efficient Inter-class correlation
co-efficient
PPI-A 0.913 0.840** 0.915**
SMTQ 0.948 0.903** 0.948**
**p < 0.001.
J. Golby, P. Wood
907
for descriptive statistics and Figure 1 for bar charts).
Measures related to psychological well-being were significantly correlated; positive affect and perceived
self-efficacy demonstrated the strongest positive relationship (r.70, p < 0.001). With regards to MT and PWB,
the strongest positive correlations were observed between the SMTQ and positive affect (r.67, p < 0.001) and
the PPI-A and perceived self-efficacy (r.64, <0.001). Both measures of MT were also significantly related (r.69,
p < 0.001) (see Table 4).
MANOVA denoted a significant difference over time on measures of MT, perceived self-efficacy, self-esteem,
positive affect and dispositional optimism, Wilks √ = 0.023, F(12, 50) = 4.208, p < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.50, ob-
served power = 0.998. Post-hoc results yielded statistically significant improvements for PPIA F(2,30) = 11.98,
Table 3. Descriptive statistics.
Pre-intervention Mid-Intervention Post-intervention
Mean (SD) Mean (SD) Mean (SD)
SE 31.2 (3.1) 32.0 (4.2) 34.8 (3.2)
DO 24.3 (3.8) 24.7 (3.4) 25.5 (3.3)
PSE 32.9 (3.6) 32.8 (3.7) 34.6 (3.4)
PA 37.3 (5.4) 41.3 (4.9) 42.7 (5.2)
SMTQ 42.0 (5.0) 44.0 (5.0) 48.0 (3.0)
Conf. 17.3 (2.9) 18.1 (3.6) 20.7 (2.1)
Const. 14.3 (1.4) 14.8 (1.0) 14.7 (1.0)
Cont. 10.1 (2.8) 11.4 (2.2) 12.6 (2.0)
PPI-A 53.0 (6.0) 55.0 (7.0) 59.0 (4.0)
D 13.2 (1.5) 13.3 (1.6) 14.0 (1.0)
SB 14.8 (2.8) 15.1 (2.9) 16.4 (2.0)
PC 14.6 (2.5) 15.0 (2.4) 16.5 (1.6)
V 10.7 (2.4) 11.6 (2.8) 12.1 (2.0)
SE = Self-Esteem; DO = Dispositional Optimism; PSE = Perceived Self Efficacy; PA = Positive Affect;
SMTQ; Total MT Score of Sports-related Mental Toughness Questionnaire; Conf. = Confidence; Const.
= Constancy; Cont. = Control; PPI-A; Total MT Score of Psychological Performance Inventory-Alter-
native; D = Determination; SB = Self-Belief; PC = Positive Cognition; V = Visualisation.
Colour of pre-intervention included.
Figure 1. Bar chart depicting changes over time.
SMTQ
PPI-A
Self Esteem
Dispositional
Optimism
Perceived
self-efficacy
Positive
Affect
pre
mid
post
J. Golby, P. Wood
908
Table 4. Correlations.
SI DO PSE PA SMTQ Cont. Const. Conf. PPIA D SB PC V
SI 1.00
DO 0.384 1.00
PSE 0.477* 0.490* 1.00
PA 0.159 0.601** 0.701** 1.00
SMTQ 0.317 0.204 0.553* 0.665** 1.00
Cont. 0.430 0.652** 0.202 0.434 0.719** 1.00
Const. 0.003 0.236 0.229 0.468* 0.670** 0.400 1.00
Conf. 0.129 0.421 0.662* 0.557* 0.802** 0.237 0.343 1.00
PPI-A 0.432 0.204 0.641** 0.373 0.689** 0.357 0.324 0.725** 1.00
D 0.155 0.037 0.540* 0.407 0.296 0.148 0.191 0.522* 0.473* 1.00
SB 0.343 0.241 0.402 0.188 0.507* 0.409 0.192 0.441 0.722** 0.136 1.00
PC 0.106 0.298 0.474* 0.411 0.735** 0.606** 0.400 0.572* 0.756** 0.331 0.555* 1.00
V 0.465* 0.060 0.286 0.020 0.167 0.124 0.043 0.357 0.554* 0.342 0.147 0.020 1.00
SE = Self-Esteem; DO = Dispositional Optimism; PSE = Perceived Self Efficacy; PA = Positive Affect; SMTQ; Total MT Score of Sports-related
Mental Toughness Questionnaire; Conf. = Confidence; Const. = Constancy; Cont. = Control; PPI-A; Total MT Score of Psychological Performance
Inventory-Alternative; D = Determination; SB = Self-Belief; PC = Positive Cognition; V = Visualisation; *p < 0.05; **p < 0.001.
p < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.44, SMTQ F(2, 30) = 18.64, p < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.55, positive affect F(2, 30) = 4.49,
p = 0.020, partial η2 = 0.23, self-esteem F(2, 30) = 13.98, p < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.48 and perceived self-efficacy,
F(2, 30) = 4.69, p = 0.017, partial η2 = 0.24 also significantly changed over the course of the intervention. How-
ever, no significant change was observed amongst group means for dispositional optimism F(2, 30) = 1.93, p =
0.16, partial η2 = 0.11. Pair-wise comparisons identified that the majority of significant change occurred pre- to
post-intervention (SMTQ p < 0.001; PPI-A p = 0.002; self-esteem p < 0.001; positive affect p = 0.037) exclud-
ing perceived self-efficacy and dispositional optimism; there were no significant differences between group
means when analysing pre- to mid-scores (SMTQ p = 0.08; PPI-A p.53; perceived self-efficacy p = 1.00; dispo-
sitional optimism p = 1.00; self-esteem p = 0.97; positive affect p = 0.09).
The RCI highlighted the number of individual significant improvements and deteriorations (p < 0.05) amongst
the squad (refer to Table 5 for details).
4. Discussion
The objective of the study was to examine the effects of a psychological skills training (PST) intervention in-
corporating principals of Dweck’s (2009) theory of a growth mindset on the MT and psychological well-being,
namely self-esteem, perceived self-efficacy, positive affect, and dispositional optimism of a sample of student-
athletes, as well as to examine the relationship between MT and both eudemonic and hedonic measures of sub-
jective well-being.
The total MT score (SMTQ; Sheard et al., 2009) was significantly related to perceived self-efficacy, disposi-
tional optimism and positive affect. This supports the claim that characteristics of MT are closely associated to
subjective psychological wellness (Mahoney et al., 2014; Sheard, 2012). However, the Adapted Psychological
Performance Inventory (PPI-A) measuring the athletes attributes and awareness of mental skills was not signifi-
cantly related to any of the following positive measures, despite the positive significant relationship between
sub-component determinism and perceived self-efficacy. The PPI-A captures unique components of MT, it is
also reasonable to argue that the discrepancies observed highlight how some, but not all characteristics of mental
toughness align with positive psychological well-being; whilst lending support to nascent research identifying
relationships between components of MT and characteristics detrimental to psychological health, such as those
J. Golby, P. Wood
909
Table 5. Reliable change index for measures of mental toughness. Green signifies a significant increase and red denotes a
significant deterioration.
SMTQ PPI-A
Participant Pre-score Post-score RCI Participant Pre-score Post-score RCI
1 41.00 44.00 1.861 1 51.00 59.00 3.234
2 45.00 53.00 4.961 2 55.00 63.00 3.234
3 42.00 47.00 3.101 3 61.00 62.00 0.404
4 43.00 48.00 3.101 4 48.00 60.00 4.851
5 44.00 49.00 3.101 5 56.00 65.00 3.638
6 50.00 53.00 1.861 6 61.00 65.00 1.617
7 45.00 48.00 1.861 7 55.00 55.00 0.000
8 46.00 53.00 4.341 8 62.00 63.00 0.404
9 29.00 46.00 10.543 9 48.00 55.00 2.830
10 36.00 42.00 3.721 10 46.00 57.00 4.446
11 42.00 48.00 3.721 11 52.00 57.00 2.021
12 48.00 48.00 0.000 12 62.00 55.00 −2.830
13 42.00 51.00 5.582 13 47.00 58.00 4.446
14 35.00 49.00 8.682 14 42.00 57.00 6.063
15 43.00 45.00 1.240 15 55.00 57.00 0.808
16 42.00 51.00 5.582 16 48.00 65.00 6.872
17 36.00 45.00 5.582 17 50.00 53.00 1.213
18 42.00 45.00 1.861 18 54.00 57.00 1.213
19 40.00 47.00 4.341 19 59.00 58.00 −0.404
associated with the dark triad (specifically narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism; Onley et al., 2013;
Sabouri et al., 2016). Alternatively, this result may be due to a reductionist approach adopted to the assessment
of psychological well-being. It is also important to be mindful that the measure itself was derived by earlier
work of Loehr (1986) and despite the years of practical experience which informed development, the psychome-
tric properties of the earlier measure came under scrutiny (Middleton et al., 2003; Sheard et al., 2009). Despite
the improvements made to the psychometric properties of the adapted Psychological Performance Inventory
(PPI-A Golby et al., 2007), this may well warrant further psychometric support.
The adaptive PST was found to significantly increase levels of mental toughness according to both psycho-
metric measures. There was also a notable increase in levels of perceived self-efficacy, positive affect and self-
esteem reported. Therefore it was concluded that this demonstrated convincing evidence both for the trainability
of mental toughness and the development of psychological well-being as a result of adaptive-psychological
skills training. Post-hoc analysis denoted that there was no significant change in dispositional optimism; this
may have been due to the nature of the measure, since dispositional optimism is seen as a stable construct and
present findings support this interpretation.
4.1. Future Research
It is important to give consideration to the other variables which may have influenced the results; for instance,
visualisation scores may have been susceptible to athletes imaging ability (Issac, 1992; Rodgers, Hall & Buck-
holtz, 1991) and boat allocation (which took place mid-way through the intervention) may have had a direct ef-
fect on the rower’s confidence scores as perceived performance is closely associated to an athlete’s self-belief
J. Golby, P. Wood
910
(Krane & Williams, 2006). It is also important to note the findings are only applicable to female student-athletes
and therefore future research should consider the implications amongst a male sample. Another pertinent factor
may have been the participant’s involvement in a new training regime as the start date of the research coincided
with the beginning of the competitive season. There is evidence to suggest that physical training fosters the de-
velopment of MT as well as closely related constructs such as resilience (Deuster & Silverman, 2013), and plen-
tiful research highlighting the psychological benefits of exercise (e.g., Edwards, 2015). To substantiate findings,
further research should consider measures to help to control the variables. Before MT can be firmly placed
within the realms of positive psychology, research is warranted to explore other positive constructs associated to
psychological wellness, such as flourishing (Diener, 1984), as well as the negative constructs evoking a detri-
mental effect on psychological health (Sabouri et al., 2016). Researchers may also want to consider ways to
gather follow-up qualitative data to further validate their results.
4.2. Implications
This study demonstrates promising short-term effects of psychological skills training utilizing growth mindset
principals (Dweck, 2009), not only to enhance the mental toughness of athletes but also enhance their sense their
psychological wellness which can also have profound benefits to overall health and performance (Mahoney et
al., 2014). The use of RCI enabled an assessment of the individual participant’s progress with regards to their
MT and identified a greater proportion of participants experiencing a significant improvement in MT over the
course of the intervention. This provided a useful, time-saving tool to decipher which athletes are making
progress against those who were not, enabling the identification of athletes who may require further support.
Due to ease of administration, the use of the RCI is strongly advised for those examining the effectiveness of
psychological interventions amongst groups of athletes to enable assessment of individual psychological per-
formance; however one potential limitation is the requirement of a reliability assessment (Zahra & Hedge, 2010).
Overall, this study supports the basic principles of PST and encourages practioners and coaches to implement
and work collaboratively during its implementation. Positive psychology promotes optimal functioning amongst
healthy individuals, helping individuals who fall within normal parameters surpass boundaries and flourish
(Compton & Huffman, 2013), it is based on the premise of “not just fixing what is broken, but nurturing what is
best” (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2007: p. 7). Within the current study, the participants had not reported
signs of psychological distress or required treatment for a psychological problem. Therefore, the sessions were
designed to nurture what was there and develop a greater sense of mental toughness and psychological wellness
utilizing psychological strategies and encouraging a growth mindset (Dweck, 2006). Within sport, the pressure
the athlete’s experience, in addition to the focus and determination required to succeed mean it is paramount that
the athlete is psychologically equipped (Lawless & Grobbelaar, 2015). These findings support previous claims
that mental toughness development is primarily driven by the principals of positive psychology; to enable the
athlete to surpass the norm and experience optimum psychological functioning in both sport and everyday life
(Sheard, 2012).
References
Beauchemin, J. (2014). College Student-Athlete Wellness: An Integrative Outreach Model. College Student Journal, 2, 268-
280.
British Psychological Society (2009). Code of Ethics and Conduct.
http://www.bps.org.uk/system/files/documents/code-of-ethics-and-conduct.pdf
Bull, S. J., Shambrook, C. J., James, W., & Brooks, J. (2005). Towards an Understanding of Mental Toughness in Elite Eng-
lish Cricketers. Journal of Applied Sports Psychology, 17, 209-227. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10413200591010085
Chen, M. A., & Cheesman, D. J. (2013). Mental Toughness of Mixed Martial Arts Athletes at Different Levels of Competi-
tion. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 116, 905-917. http://dx.doi.org/10.2466/29.30.PMS.116.3.905-917
Clough, P. J., Earle, K., & Sewell, D. (2002). Mental Toughness: The Concept and Its Measurement. In I. Cockerill (Ed.),
Solutions in Sport Psychology (pp. 32-46). London: Thomson Learning.
Clough, P. J., & Strycharczyk, D. (2012). Developing Mental Toughness: Improving Performance, Wellbeing and Positive
Behaviour in Others. London: Kogan Page Limited.
Crust, L., & Swann, C. (2013). The Relationship between Mental Toughness and Dispositional Flow. European Journal of
Sport Science, 2, 215-220. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2011.635698
J. Golby, P. Wood
911
Deuster, P., & Silverman, M. N. (2013). Physical Fitness: A Pathway to Health and Resilience. PubMed, 12, 24-35.
Diener, E. (1984). Subjective Well-Being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542-575.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.95.3.542
Dweck, C. (2009). Mindsets: Developing Talent through a Growth Mindset. Olympic Coach, 21, 4.
Dweck, C. (2012). Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential. New York: Ballantine Books.
Ericsson, K. A., Krampe, R. Th., & Tesch-Römer, C. (1993). The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert
Performance. Psychological Review, 100, 363-406. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.100.3.363
Ford, J. A. (2007). Alcohol Use among College Students. A Comparison of Athletes and Nonathletes. Substance Use &
Misuse, 42, 1367-1377. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10826080701212402
Gerber, M., Kalak, N., Lemola, S., Clough, P. J., Perry, J., Puhse, U., Elliot, C., Holsboer-Trachsler, E., & Brand, S. (2013).
Are Adolescents with high mental toughness levels more resilient against stress. Stress & Health: Journal of the Interna-
tional Society for the Investigation of Stress, 29, 164-168. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/smi.2447
Golby, J., & Sheard, M. (2006). The Relationship between Genotype and Positive Psychological Development National
Level Swimmers. European Psychologist, 11, 143-148. http://dx.doi.org/10.1027/1016-9040.11.2.143
Golby, J., Sheard, M., & van Wersch, A. (2007). Evaluating the Factor Structure of the Psychological Performance Inventory.
Perceptual and Motor Skills, 105, 309-325.
Goldberg, A. S. (1998). Sports Slump Busting: 10 Steps to Mental Toughness and Peak Performance. Champaign, IL: Hu-
man Kinetics.
Gucciardi, D. F. (2016). Mental Toughness as a Moderator of the Intention-Behaviour Gap in the Rehabilitation of Knee
Pain. Journal of Science & Medicine in Sport, 19, 454-458. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2015.06.010
Gucciardi, D. F., Gordon, S., & Dimmock, J. A. (2008). Towards an Understanding of Mental Toughness in Australian
Football. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 20, 261-281. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10413200801998556
Gucciardi, D. F., Jackson, B., Hodge, K., Anthony, D. R., & Brooke, L. E. (2015). Implicit Theories of Mental Toughness:
Relations with Cognitive, Motivational, and Behavioral Correlates. Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology, 4, 100-
112. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/spy0000024
Hardy, L., Jones, G., & Gould, D. (1996). Understanding Psychological Preparation for Sport: Theory and Practice of Elite
Performers. New York: Wiley.
Hardy, J., Roberts, R., & Hardy, L. (2009). Awareness and Motivation to Change Negative Self-Talk. The Sport Psycholo-
gist, 23, 435-450.
Hefferon, K. (2013). Positive Psychology and the Body: The Somatopsychic Side of Flourishing. Maidenhead: Open Univer-
sity Press.
Henderson, L. W., & Knight, T. (2012). Integrating the Hedonic and Eudemonic Perspectives to More Comprehensively
Understand Wellbeing and Pathways to Wellbeing. International Journal of Wellbeing, 2, 196-221.
http://dx.doi.org/10.5502/ijw.v2i3.3
Hinkle, D. E., Wiersma, W., & Jurs, S. G. (1998). Applied Statistics for Behavioural Sciences (4th ed.). Chicago, IL: Rand
McNally College Publishing.
Huta, V., & Ryan, R. M. (2010). Pursuing Pleasure or Virtue: The Differential and Overlapping Well-Being Benefits of He-
donic and Eudemonic Motives. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11, 735-762.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10902-009-9171-4
Issac, A. (1992). Mental Practise—Does It Work in the Field? The Sports Psychologist, 6, 192-198.
Jacobson, N. S., & Traux, P. (1991). Clinical Significance: A Statistical Approach to Defining Meaningful Change in Psy-
chotherapy Research. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 59, 12-19.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.59.1.12
Jones, G., Hanton, S., & Connaughton, D. (2002). What Is This Thing Called Mental Toughness? An Investigation of Elite
Sport Performers. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 14, 205-218.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10413200290103509
Krane, V., & Williams, J. M. (2006). Psychological Characteristics of Peak Performance. In J. M. Williams (Ed.), Applied
Sport Psychology: Personal Growth to Peak Performance (pp. 207-227). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Lambert, L., Passmore, H., & Holder, M. D. (2015). Foundational Framework of Positive Psychology: Mapping Well-Being
Orientations. Canadian Psychology, 56, 311-321. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cap0000033
Lane, A. (2014). An Examination of Robust Self-Confidence in Elite Sport. Sport & Exercise Psychology Review, 10, 24-27.
Loehr, J. E. (1986). Mental Toughness Training for Sports: Achieving Athletic Excellence. Lexington, MA: Stephen Green
Press.
J. Golby, P. Wood
912
Maddi, S. (2002). The Story of Hardiness: Twenty Years of Theorizing, Research and Practise. Journal of Consultancy Psy-
chology, 54, 173-185. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1061-4087.54.3.173
Makikangas, A., & Kinnunen, U. (2003). Psychosocial Work Stressors and Wellbeing: Self Esteem and Optimism as Mod-
erators in a Year-Long Longitudinal Sample. Personality & Individual Differences, 35, 537-557.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(02)00217-9
Marshall, C., & Harrison, J. (2015). Road to Rio—Supporting the Whole Human Being and Not Just the Athlete. Sport and
Exercise Scientist, 44, 6-7.
Mahoney, J. W., Gucciardi, D. F., Ntoumania, N., & Mallet, C. J. (2014). Mental Toughness in Sport: Motivational Antece-
dents and Associations with Performance and Psychological Health. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 36, 281-
292. http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/jsep.2013-0260
Martens, R. (1987). Coaches Guide to Sport Psychology. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Martens, M. P., Dams-O’Connor, K., & Beck, N. C. (2006). A Systematic Review of College Student-Athlete Drinking:
Prevalence Rates, Sport-Related Factors and Interventions. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 31, 305-316.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2006.05.004
Meichenbaum, D. (1977). Cognitive-Behavior Modification: An Integrative Approach. New York: Plenum.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4757-9739-8
Middleton, S. C., Marsh, H. M., Martin, A. J., Richards, G. E, Savis, J., & Perry, C. (2004). The Psychological Performance
Inventory: Is the Mental Toughness Test Tough Enough? International Journal of Sport Psychology, 35, 91-108.
Rattan, A., Savani, K., Chugh, D., & Dweck, C. S. (2015). Leveraging Mindsets to Promote Academic Achievement: Policy
Recommendations. Perspectives of Psychological Science, 10, 721-726. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1745691615599383
Rodgers, W., Hall, C. R., & Buckholtz, E. (1991). The Effect of an Imagery Training Program on Imagery Ability, Imagery
Use and Figure Skating Performance. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 3, 109-125.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10413209108406438
Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the Adolescent Self-Image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Rushall, B. S. (1992). Mental Skills Training for Sports: A Manual for Athletes, Coaches, and Sport Psychologists. Austra-
lian: Sport Science Associates.
Rusk, R. D., & Waters, L. E. (2013). Tracing the Size, Reach, Impact, and Breadth of Positive Psychology. The Journal of
Positive Psychology, 8, 207-221. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2013.777766
Russel, B. (2007). A History of Western Philosophy. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Royal College of Psychiatrics (2011). The Mental Health of Students in Higher Education. London: Royal College of Psy-
chiatrics.
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation on Intrinsic Motivation, Social Develop-
ment, and Well-Being. American Psychologist, 55, 68-78. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.68
Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness Is Everything, or Is It? Explorations on the Meaning of Psychological Wellbeing. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1069-1081. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.57.6.1069
Sabouri, S., Gerber, M., Bahmani, D. S., Lemola, S., Clough, P. J., Kalak, N., Shamsi, M., Holsboer-Tracsler, E., & Brand, S.
(2016). Examining Dark Triad Traits in Relation to Mental Toughness and Physical Activity in Young Adults. Dove
Medical Press, 12, 229-235.
Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (1985). Optimism, Coping and Health: Assessment and Implications of Generalised Outcome
Expectancies. Health Psychology, 4, 219-247. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0278-6133.4.3.219
Schroder, H. S., Moran, T. P., Donnellan, B., & Moser, J. S. (2014). Mindset Induction Effects on Cognitive Control: A
Neurobiological Induction. Biological Psychology, 103, 27-37. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2014.08.004
Schwarzer, R., & Jerusalem, M. (1993). Measurement of Perceived Self-Efficacy: Psychometric Scales for Cross-Cultural
Research. Berlin: Freie University.
Sheard, M. (2009). A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Mental Toughness and Hardiness in Elite University Rugby League
Teams. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 109, 213-223. http://dx.doi.org/10.2466/pms.109.1.213-223
Sheard, M. (2012). Mental Toughness: The Mindset Behind Sporting Achievement (2nd ed.). East Sussex: Routledge.
Sheard, M., & Golby, J. (2006). Effect of a Psychological Skills Training Programme on Swimming Performance and Posi-
tive Psychological Development. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 4, 149-169.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2006.9671790
Sheard, M., Golby, J., & van Wersch, A. (2009). Progress towards Construct Validation of the Sports Mental Toughness
Questionnaire (SMTQ). European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 25, 186-193.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1027/1015-5759.25.3.186
J. Golby, P. Wood
913
Spitzer, B., & Aronson, J. (2015). Minding and Mending the Gap: Social Psychological Interventions to Reduce Educational
Disparities. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 85, 1-18. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjep.12067
Stamp, E., Crust, L., Swann, C., Perry, J., Clough, P., & Merchant, D. (2015). Relationship between Mental Toughness and
Positive Psychological Wellbeing in Undergraduate Students. Personality and Individual Differences, 75, 170-174.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2014.11.038
Surujlal, J., Van Zyl, Y., & Nolan, V. T. (2013). Perceived Stress and Coping Skills of University Student-Athletes and the
Relationship with Life Satisfaction. African Journal of Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance, 19, 1047-1059.
SurveyMonkey Inc. (1999-2016). [Computer Software]. http://www.surveymonkey.com
Thelwell, R., Weston, N., & Greenlees, I. (2005). Defining and Understanding Mental Toughness within Soccer. Journal of
Applied Sport Psychology, 17, 326-332. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10413200500313636
Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and Validation of Brief Measures of Positive and Negative
Affect: The PANAS Scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063-1070.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.54.6.1063
Van Zyl, Y., Surujlal, J., & Singh, C. (2009). An Empirical Study of University Student-Athletes; Strategies for Coping with
Stress. African Journal of Physical, Health Education, Recreation & Dance, 5, 62-78.
Williams, J. M., & Krane, V. (2001). Psychological Characteristics of Peak Performance. In J. M. Williams (Ed.), Applied
Sports Psychology: Personal Growth to Peak Performance (4th ed., pp. 162-178). Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.
Yamaguchi, M., Seki, T., Mayoshi, I., Tamamaki, N., Hayashi, Y., Tatebayashi, Y., & Hitoshi, S. (2016). Neural Stem Cells
and Neuro/Gliogenesis in the Central Nervous System: Understanding the Structural and Functional Plasticity of the De-
veloping, Mature, and Diseased Brain. The Journal of Physiological Sciences, 66, 197-206.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12576-015-0421-4
Yeager, D. S., Romero, C., Paunesku, D., Hulleman, C. S., Schneider, B., Hinojosac, C., Lee, H. Y., O’Brien, J., Flink, K.,
Roberts, A., Trott, J., Greene, D., Daniel, W., Walton, G. M., & Dweck, C. S. (2016). Using Design Thinking to Improve
Psychological Interventions: The Case of the Growth Mindset during the Transition to High School. Journal of Educa-
tional Psychology, 108, 374-391. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/edu0000098
Zahra, D. (2010). RCI Calculator. http://daniel-zahara.webs.com/publications.htm
Zahra, D., & Hedge, C. (2010). The Reliable Change Index: Why Isn’t It More Popular in Academic Psychology? The Psy-
chologist Quarterly, 76, 14-19.
Submit your manuscript at: http://papersubmission.scirp.org/
... This is especially true of Mental Toughness, which is associated with positive psychological outcomes including increased psychological well-being and enhanced flow (i.e., the tendency to experience a psychological state of optimal experience) in real-world settings (Jackman et al., 2016). Pertinent to the present article, researchers have found that this is especially true in the context of sport (Golby and Wood, 2016). Moreover, the importance of Mental Toughness in optimizing performance is widely acknowledged within athletic settings (coaches, sports psychologists, athletes, etc.) (Goldberg, 1998;Stamatis et al., 2020). ...
... Similarly, Sheard and Golby (2006) found that PST increased Mental Toughness, promoted psychological development, and aided the performance of adolescent swimmers. Extending this to consider whether PST enhanced positive psychological characteristics, Golby and Wood (2016) reported that PST increased levels of Mental Toughness and concomitantly heightened levels of perceived self-efficacy, positive affect, and self-esteem in student-athlete rowers. This supports the notions that Mental Toughness is trainable and that interventions can facilitate psychological well-being. ...
... A further caveat is that individuals high in Mental Toughness often exhibit socially malevolent characteristics (e.g., ruthless, and selfish), especially when they are striving to achieve goals (Sabouri et al., 2016). Hence, elements of Mental Toughness, particularly those associated with dark triad traits (i.e., narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism), may have detrimental effects on psychological health (Golby and Wood, 2016). Although, research in this area is relatively underdeveloped, recent evidence indicates that this supposition is overly simplistic because relationships between Mental Toughness, dark triad traits and psychological well-being are highly complex. ...
Article
Full-text available
The spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on global sport. This is especially true at the elite level, where it has disrupted training and competition. Concomitantly, restrictions have disrupted long-term event planning. Many elite athletes remain unsure when major events will occur and worry about further interruptions. Although some athletes have successfully adapted to the demands of the COVID-19 crisis, many have experienced difficulties adjusting. This has resulted in psychological complications including increased stress, anxiety, and depression. This article critically examines the extent to which non-cognitive skills training, in the form of increased awareness of Mental Toughness, can help elite athletes inoculate against and cope with negative psychological effects arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Non-cognitive skills encompass intrapersonal (motivations, learning strategies, and self-regulation) and interpersonal (interactions with others) domains not directly affected by intellectual capacity. Previous research indicates that enhancement of these spheres can assist performance and enhance mental well-being. Moreover, it suggests that training in the form of increased awareness of Mental Toughness, can improve the ability to cope with COVID-19 related challenges. In this context, Mental Toughness encompasses a broad set of enabling attributes (i.e., inherent and evolved values, attitudes, emotions, and cognitions). Indeed, academics commonly regard Mental Toughness as a resistance resource that protects against stress. Accordingly, this article advocates the use of the 4/6Cs model of Mental Toughness (i.e., Challenge, Commitment, Control, and Confidence) to counter negative psychological effects arising from COVID-19.
... Al hilo de la importancia que la intervención psicológica demuestra tener en el proceso de rehabilitación de los deportistas lesionados, son diferentes las investigaciones que la emplean, encuadrada en un programa de entrenamiento psicológico, como parte de la rehabilitación de un deportista lesionado [35][36][37] , integrando, cada vez más, este trabajo psicológico en el entrenamiento del deportista. ...
Article
Full-text available
Resumen Introducción: El presente trabajo tiene como objetivo revisar las publicaciones respecto de las intervenciones psicológicas aplicadas en los procesos de rehabilitación de deportistas lesionados hasta el año 2020. Material y método: Se realizó una búsqueda bibliográfica en la base de datos electrónica Web of Science (WoS) de acuerdo con las líneas de recomendación para revisiones sistemáticas y meta-análisis de la guía PRISMA. Para ello, se utilizaron los términos de búsqueda sport injur*, psycho* y rehabilitation. Los criterios de inclusión utilizados fueron: 1) tener como objeto de estudio la medición de variables psicológicas durante la fase de rehabilitación de una lesión deportiva; 2) ser de carácter empírico y; 3) la aplicación de un programa de entrenamiento psicológico como parte del tratamiento en la rehabilitación de la lesión deportiva. Resultados: Tras aplicar las estrategias de búsqueda, se obtuvieron un total de 394 artículos, de los cuales tras eliminar los que no cumplían los criterios de exclusión se redujeron a 15 artículos. Conclusiones: Los resultados muestran que los programas de intervención psicológica más utilizados en la rehabilitación de deportistas lesionados han sido la relajación, la visualización, el establecimiento de objetivos y el Mindfulness. Por su parte, las variables psicológicas más estudiadas fueron el dolor, la adherencia a la rehabilitación y la autoeficacia. Finalmente, la aplicación de intervención psicológica en el proceso de rehabilitación del deportista lesionado se mostró eficaz, para el objetivo que perseguía, en 13 de los 15 trabajos objeto de estudio. Palabras clave: Lesión deportiva. Rehabilitación. Psicología. Entrenamiento psicológico. Deporte. Summary Introduction: This paper aims to review the publications regarding the psychological interventions applied in the rehabilitation processes of injured athletes until 2020. Material and method: A datasearch were conducted in Web of Science (WoS) databases according to the recommendations and criteria established in the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis (PRISMA) statement guidelines. To do this, the search terms sport injur*, psycho* and rehabilitation were used. The inclusion criteria used were: 1) to have as an object of study the measurement of psychological variables during the rehabilitation phase of a sports injury; 2) be empirical in nature and; 3) the application of a psychological training program as part of the treatment in the rehabilitation of the sports injury. Results: After applying the search strategies, a total of 394 articles were obtained, of which after eliminating those that did not meet the exclusion criteria were reduced to 15 articles. Conclusions: The results show that the most used psychological intervention programs in the rehabilitation of injured athletes have been relaxation, guided imagery, goal-setting and mindfulness. On the other hand, the most studied psychological variables were pain, adherence to rehabilitation and self-efficacy. Finally, the application of psychological intervention in the rehabilitation process of the injured athlete was effective, for the objective pursued, in 13 of the 15 works under study.
... The dimensions of MT were significantly related to positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment. Simply put, MT plays a key role in predicting flourishing among students (Jin and Wang, 2018) and athletes (Golby and Wood, 2016). Likewise, the results of our research indicate that higher levels of perseverance, control, resilience and confidence are significantly related to flourishing at work and enhanced performance. ...
Purpose Time and again, scholars have emphasized the vitality of mental toughness for success in performance-oriented contexts. Despite the awareness about the significance of mental toughness, there is ambiguity in the conceptual consensus of the factors that comprise of the construct in an organizational setup. Second, there is a dearth of a psychometrically sound measure that assesses mental toughness among employees. Design/methodology/approach The study follows a multi-method approach to develop a mental toughness questionnaire. First, to arrive at a consensus of the factors that construe mental toughness, a meta-ethnography was done. Subsequently, a measure of mental toughness was developed and tested following scale development norms. Findings Drawing from the results of qualitative inquiry, four factors of mental toughness were derived, namely, perseverance, control, challenge and commitment. Then, the scale development process was followed. Results of psychometric testing using three samples were above the acceptable range, justifying the use of developed scale for academic and professional purposes. Originality/value This study is a novel attempt in the literature to extract factors of mental toughness through meta-ethnography and consequently develop a scale.
... A quantitative study cannot sample 26 participants; therefore, the study intends to fill this gap by using a rigorous qualitative approach to understand the youth lived experience. Golby and Wood, (2016) say that the mental toughness programme does not only enhance athletes' psychological skills but, mental toughness programme also contributes to the healthy lifestyle and wellbeing of the athletes. In addition, the mental toughness programme helps the participants to relate well with other people (Mahoney, Gucciardi, Ntoumania & Mallet, 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
The rapid increase of poverty, crime, and unemployment in South Africa results in youth vulnerability. Youth not in employment, not in education, and not in training are most vulnerable to life setbacks, find it difficult dealing with criticism, rejection, and failure. Thus, youth workers responsible for the coordination of youth service programme need to design an autonomy-supportive programme that can prepare youth mentally before youth are placed in a youth development programme that seeks to enhance youth employability. The National Youth Development Agency in South Africa under the National Youth Service Programme has developed a mental toughness programme curriculum that NYS volunteers undergo before participating in youth skill development programme or community service programme for a minimum of five days. The aim of the study is to explore the impact of the Mental Toughness Programme on the positive development of youth through youth lived experience in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. This study made use of a qualitative research approach, non-probability sampling to sample eight youth who participated in the Mental Toughness Programme offered by the National Youth Development Agency. In this study, we recommend that the National Youth Development Agency knowledge and research division should conduct a longitudinal study that can evaluate the impact of the Mental Toughness Programme on positive youth development in South Africa. The National Youth Development Agency should revise the mental toughness programme curriculum in a way that the programme goes beyond five days and physical toughness should be cooperated in the curriculum to enhance social cohesion. Received: 27 July 2021 / Accepted: 6 October 2021 / Published: 3 January 2022
... Esimerkiksi kestävyyden on havaittu joissakin tutkimuksissa parantuvan koulutusjaksojen jälkeen (39). Joskus interventio voi aiheuttaa useiden muuttujien samanaikaisen muutoksen: henkinen lujuus, pystyvyyskäsitys, itsetunto ja positiiviset tunnetilat lisääntyivät psykologisten taitojen kehittämiseen liittyvän intervention jälkeen (40). On vaikea tehdä pitkälle meneviä päätelmiä sisunkaltaisten piirteiden mahdollisesta muokattavuudesta, sillä tutkimuskirjallisuus asiasta on melko hajanaista, eivätkä esimerkiksi interventiot (vuosia kestävä sotilaskoulutus, sotilaille suunnattu kurssi ja psykologisten taitojen kehittämiskoulutus) ole täysin yhteismitallisia. ...
Article
Full-text available
Sisunkaltaisten piirteiden tutkimusta on tehty englannin kielen käsitteistöön pohjautuvilla itserapor­tointi­kyselyillä jo melko pitkään. Yhteyksiä on löytynyt esimerkiksi koulumenestykseen, asepalveluksessa suoriutumiseen, hyvinvointiin, mielenterveyteen, fyysiseen terveyteen ja terveyskäyttäytymiseen. Käymme läpi aiemman kirjallisuuden perusteella näitä yhteyksiä. Esittelemme myös lyhyesti suomen kieleen ensimmäistä kertaa pohjautuvan kehittämämme sisukyselymittarin. Siinä on sekä samankaltaisuuksia että eroavaisuuksia englannin kieleen pohjautuviin kyselymittareihin verrattuna, mutta alustavien tulosten perusteella yhteyksiä tärkeisiin hyvinvointimuuttujiin on runsaasti. Sisulla ja yleisemmin sisupiirteillä on yhteyksiä persoonallisuuspiirteisiin, mutta yhteydet eivät ole kovinkaan voimakkaita. Sisupiirteitä ei voi siis tutkia suoraan persoonallisuuskyselyillä, vaan niitä on tutkittava erillisillä, tarkoitusta varten kehitetyillä kyselyillä. Tutkimuksellinen kiinnostus ei-kognitiivisia eli esimerkiksi persoonallisuuteen, asenteisiin ja motivaatioon liittyviä ominaisuuksia kohtaan on suurta ja edelleen kasvavaa. Meta-analyyseissa on tunnistettu suuri joukko muuttujia. jotka ennustavat muun ­muassa opintomenestystä ja mielenterveyttä yhtä hyvin tai jopa paremmin kuin lahjakkuus ja yleisälykkyys (1,2). Mielenkiinnon taustalla on toive siitä, että tunnistamalla näitä muuttujia niihin voidaan vaikuttaa interventioilla. Tällaisista terveyteen ja hyvinvointiin liittyvistä tekijöistä laajimmin Suomessakin käyttöön omaksuttu on resilienssi, joka tarkoittaa kykyä selviytyä suurista haasteista ja vastoinkäymisistä ja kestää niiden aiheuttamaa stressiä lannistumatta (3). Resilienssi on nähty keskeisenä esimerkiksi lääkärien työhyvinvoinnin kannalta, ja sen puutteen on havaittu liittyvän mielenterveyden ja opintomenestyksen ongelmiin (4,5). Käynnissä oleva COVID-19-epidemia korostaa näiden ilmiöiden tutkimuksen ja tuntemisen roolia. Resilienssi on nähty sekä itsenäisenä mitattavissa olevana ominaisuutena että prosessina ja lopputulemana, jonka taustalla vaikuttaa useita osatekijöitä (6,7). Näiden osatekijöiden joukosta tärkeimpiä ovat suojaavat tekijät, kuten optimismi ja oma pystyvyyden tunne (engl. self-efficacy), verrattuna riskitekijöihin, kuten stressiin ja ahdistukseen, tai demografisiin muuttujiin kuten ikään ja sukupuoleen (8). Resilienssin ja siihen liittyvien piirteiden rajanveto on osoittautunut vaikeaksi: termit kuvaavat päällekkäisiä käsitteitä, korreloivat vahvasti keskenään ja niitä käytetään usein synonyymeinä (9). Lisäksi kirjallisuudessa saatetaan kutsua resilienssiksi jotakin muuta kuin varsinaisella resilienssikyselyllä mitattua piirrettä.
... These researchers stated that a 7-week mental skill training (goal settings, visualization, relaxation, concentration) led to a significant increase in both performance and mental toughness of high-performance adolescent swimmers. As a matter of fact, the results of both mental skills training (Sheard & Golby, 2006) and psychological performance intervention program (Golby & Wood, 2016) led to positive improvements in psychological performance strategies and mental toughness skills. However, it is considered that there is still a need for further studies to be carried out in different athlete and sample groups in the literature. ...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives The aim of this research is to examine the relationship between performance strategies and mental toughness in team and individual sports of young adult athletes. Methods This research was conducted with a sample of athletes active in various teams and clubs in Antalya. In this study, 249 athletes participated (xĀge: 23.62 + 4.466), 44.6% (n = 111) of them were female and 55.4% (n = 138) were male athletes. The data collection tools included ''Sports Mental Toughness Questionnaire-SMTQ-14'', ''The Test of Performance Strategies Questionnaire (TOPS)'', and '' Personal Information Form'' prepared for the purpose of the research. Furthermore, Independent sample T-test, One-way ANOVA and Pearson correlation analysis were used in this study. The analyzes were made in the IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), and the significance level in the research was p <0.05. Results A significant difference was found in imagery and activation sub-scales in terms of team and individual sports variables. In addition, in terms of the branch, gender, and experience variables, it was found that the scores of goal setting, imagery, activation, self-talk, attentional control, relaxation, emotional control, automaticity, confidence, control, and constancy did not differ significantly. Conclusions As a result, it was found that both mental toughness and performance strategies did not differ in terms of branch, gender, and experience variables. The results of the study related to psychological performance strategies and differentiation of mental toughness contradict with the relevant literature. However, there is a low positive correlation between mental toughness and psychological performance strategies. The skill of self-talk positively affects constancy, confidence, and control of mental toughness.
... In the the right column, to indicate the differences between these two approaches, the attitudes of individuals with fixed mindset are presented. This concept has been used by a lot of researchers in many countries not only in research related to employees, but also to athletes, students or elderly people (Dweck, 2008;Dweck, 2009;Boaler, 2013;Golby and Wood, 2016;Caniëls et al, 2018;Hwang and Lee, 2020). Such diversity motivates researchers to create questionnaires measuring the concept in their national languages. ...
... Global measurement tools that have been used to assess SWB in athletes (e.g., Golby & Wood, 2016;Kipp & Weiss, 2015) are the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS; Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985) and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS; Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988), which primarily address hedonic wellbeing. In regards to the eudaimonic approach, the Scales of Psychological Well-Being (SPWB; Ryff, 1989) has been employed with athletes to assess EWB on a global level (e.g., Ferguson, Kowalski, Mack, & Sabiston, 2014;Lundqvist & Raglin, 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction & Purpose: The propose of this study was to investigate the relationship between mental toughness and self-compassion in elite and non-elite adolescent Taekwondo athletes. Methodology: The research method was descriptive-correlational. The statistical population consisted of the all adolescent taekwondo athletes' participating in League competition (Premier and super League) in 2018. One hundred and fifty athletes were selected via random sampling method and completed scales of sport mental toughness (Sheard & et al. , 2009) and self-compassion (Reis & et al, 2010). The data were analyzed by Pearson correlation, multiple regression by inward method, and One-way variance analysis (anova) tests. Results: The results showed a significant relationship between mental toughness and self-compassion and dimension of mental toughness (confidence, consistency & control) positively predicts self-compassion variance (P<0.001). Addition, the data showed that the elite group significantly have heighten mental toughness and use more self-compassion than non- elite group (P<0.001). Conclusion: According to results of this study, it seems that mental toughness have an effective role in self-compassion strategies of adolescent taekwondo Athletes and Improving these strategies can be useful conducting interventions and training programs for mental toughness in taekwondo athletes, especially for level non- elite.
Article
Full-text available
Background and Aim: The concept of resilience has been recently extensively considered concerning sports studies; accordingly, in most qualitative studies, it has been used to explore the attitudes of coaches, athletes, and sports psychologists. In this regard, the present study aimed to determine resilience in athletic students based on dark triad personality and psychological wellbeing. Methods & Materials: This was a descriptive and correlational study. The population of the study consisted of all male students of Guilan University of Physical Education in the first semester of the academic year 2019-2020. A sample of 200 individuals was selected by convenience sampling method; then, the required data were collected using Sheard et al.’s (2009) Resilience Scale for Adults, Jonsson and Webster’s Dark Triad Personality Questionnaire, and Ryff’s 18-item Psychological Wellbeing Scale (1989). The obtained data were analyzed by SPSS using Pearson correlation coefficient and multiple regression analysis. Ethical Considerations: This study was approved by Research Ethics Committee of Guilan University of Medical Sciences (Code: IR.GUMS.REC.1398.121). Results: The present research results suggested a positive and significant correlation between the resilience of the examined athletic students and narcissism (r=0.495, P
Article
Full-text available
Objective: The Dark Triad (DT) describes a set of three closely related personality traits: Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy; Mental Toughness (MT) refers to a psychological construct combining Confidence, Commitment, Control, and Challenge. High MT is related to greater physical activity (PA) and, relative to males, females have lower MT scores. The aims of the present study were: 1. to investigate the association between DT, MT and PA; 2. to compare DT, MT and PA scores of males and females. Methods: A total of 341 adults (M = 29 years; 51.6% female; range: 18-37 years) took part in the study. Participants completed a series of questionnaires assessing DT, MT, and PA. Results: Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy were all significantly associated with higher mental toughness scores (rs = .45, .50, and .20 respectively). DT traits and MT were associated with more vigorous PA. Compared to their male counterparts, female participants had lower scores for DT traits (overall score and Psychopathy), while no gender differences were found for MT or PA. Conclusions: Dark Triad traits, high mental toughness, and vigorous physical activity are interrelated. This pattern of results might explain why, for instance, successful professional athletes can at the same time be tough and ruthless.
Article
Full-text available
There are many promising psychological interventions on the horizon, but there is no clear methodology for preparing them to be scaled up. Drawing on design thinking, the present research formalizes a methodology for redesigning and tailoring initial interventions. We test the methodology using the case of fixed versus growth mindsets during the transition to high school. Qualitative inquiry and rapid, iterative, randomized “A/B” experiments were conducted with ~3,000 participants to inform intervention revisions for this population. Next, two experimental evaluations showed that the revised growth mindset intervention was an improvement over previous versions in terms of short-term proxy outcomes (Study 1, N=7,501), and it improved 9th grade core-course GPA and reduced D/F GPAs for lower achieving students when delivered via the Internet under routine conditions with ~95% of students at 10 schools (Study 2, N=3,676). Although the intervention could still be improved even further, the current research provides a model for how to improve and scale interventions that begin to address pressing educational problems. It also provides insight into how to teach a growth mindset more effectively.
Chapter
Although one may disagree with Shapiro and Ravenette’s evaluation of the various tests cited, their quote does sensitize us to the need to develop more explicit ways of assessing our client’s affects, cognitions, and volitions. The present chapter conveys some preliminary attempts at developing this assessment armamentarium, which follow from a cognitive-behavioral treatment approach. Specifically, the present chapter has two purposes. The first is to examine various assessment strategies that have been employed to study psychological deficits. This analysis indicates some shortcomings and an alternative, namely a cognitive-functional analysis approach. The second purpose of the chapter is to describe specific techniques that can be employed to assess more directly the client’s cognitions. Let’s begin with an examination of the current assessment and research strategies.
Article
The theoretical framework presented in this article explains expert performance as the end result of individuals' prolonged efforts to improve performance while negotiating motivational and external constraints. In most domains of expertise, individuals begin in their childhood a regimen of effortful activities (deliberate practice) designed to optimize improvement. Individual differences, even among elite performers, are closely related to assessed amounts of deliberate practice. Many characteristics once believed to reflect innate talent are actually the result of intense practice extended for a minimum of 10 years. Analysis of expert performance provides unique evidence on the potential and limits of extreme environmental adaptation and learning.