The construct of mental toughness : a psychometric and experimental analysis

Earle, Keith

May 2007

Thesis or dissertation

© 2007 Keith Earle. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Mental toughness is a familiar and commonplace term in both the sporting arena and the workplace. However, attempts to investigate the nature of mental toughness have been inconclusive and, following more than twenty years of research, the construct remained ill-defined. As a consequence of this lack of an accepted definition, a series of different strands of research were then undertaken, but each produced differing conceptualisations of the phenomenon. The work presented in this thesis represents an attempt to address these issues using both psychometric and experimental approaches. Preliminary work investigated the psychometric basis for the construct of mental toughness and enabled the development of a multidimensional measurement tool. This work was followed by a series of four experiments: The first two experiments focused on the moderating effects of mental toughness on the impact of physical and cognitive stressors, and the final two experiments considered the changes in mental toughness in individuals facing new life challenges and a mental toughness training programme. Both experimental and psychometric analyses supported the proposition of a meaningful construct with real world applications. The evidence in support of a psychometrically sound construct was particularly strong and the beneficial effects of superior mental toughness were highlighted in both the physical and cognitive studies undertaken. Most importantly, in terms of applied sport and occupational psychology, self ratings of mental toughness and objective performance were enhanced following exposure to appropriate psychological skills training.

Department of Psychology, The University of Hull
Clough, Peter (Psychologist)
Ethos identifier
Qualification level
Qualification name
Filesize: 55 MB
QR Code