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Mental toughnessSince the turn of the 21st Century, Mental Toughness has been defined in a variety of ways (e.g. Clough, Earle & Sewell, 2002; Coulter, Mallett & Gucciardi, 2010; Fourie & Potgieter, 2001; Golby & Sheard, 2006; Gucciardi, Gordon & Dimmock, 2008; Jones, Hanton & Connaughton, 2007). Although they differ in many respects, the conceptualisation share a number of similarities. For example, self-belief is at the core of most definitions, motivation is central to most as is persistence in achieving and the ability to deal with setbacks. As such, Mental Toughness is an umbrella term that entails positive psychological resources, which are crucial across a wide range of achievement contexts and in the domain of mental health. Clough and Strycharczyk (2015: 33) suggest that: Mental Toughness is a narrow plastic personality trait which explains in large part how individuals respond differently to the same or similar stressors, pressures, opportunities and challenges… irrespective of prevailing circumstances.
Mental Toughness DevelopmentThough there are different conceptions of mental toughness, there are a number of important commonalities, including: self-belief, attentional control, resilience, a success mindset, optimistic thinking, emotional awareness and regulation, ability to deal with perceived challenge, and contextual awareness and understanding (Crust and Clough 2011). As such, mental toughness has been conceptualised as a personality trait which describes the mindset that is engaged by people across extreme events as well as everyday events (Clough and Strycharczyk 2015; Stokes et al, 2018). It is closely related to qualities such as character, resilience, and grit, but whereas most personality models and measures assess the behavioural aspects of personality (how we act), mental toughness differs in that it assesses something more fundamental, that is, ‘how we think’, or why we act (and respond emotionally) to events (Clough and Strycharczyk, 2015).