The concept of mental toughness: tests of dimensionality, nomological network, and traitness

J Pers. 2015 Feb;83(1):26-44. doi: 10.1111/jopy.12079. Epub 2014 Feb 27.


Mental toughness has received increased scholarly attention in recent years, yet conceptual issues related to its (a) dimensionality, (b) nomological network, and (c) traitness remain unresolved. The series of studies reported in this article were designed to examine these three substantive issues across several achievement contexts, including sport, education, military, and the workplace. Five studies were conducted to examine these research aims-Study 1: N = 30; Study 2: calibration sample (n = 418), tertiary students (n = 500), athletes (n = 427), and employees (n = 550); Study 3: N = 497 employees; Study 4: N = 203 tertiary students; Study 5: N = 115 army candidates. Collectively, the results of these studies revealed that mental toughness may be best conceptualized as a unidimensional rather than a multidimensional concept; plays an important role in performance, goal progress, and thriving despite stress; and can vary and have enduring properties across situations and time. This series of studies provides a foundation for further basic and applied research of mental toughness across various achievement contexts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletes
  • Australia
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel
  • Motivation
  • New Zealand
  • Personality*
  • Psychometrics
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Students
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Workplace
  • Young Adult