Mental toughness, hardiness, and mental skills in Canadian university athletes

  • Benjamin J Vandervies University of Calgary
  • David M Paskevich University of Calgary
  • Georgia D Ens University of Calgary


Background: Mental toughness (MT) is a multifaceted construct that is considered a prominent factor in sport performance (Gould, Dieffenbach, & Moffett, 2002). It consists of an ability to cope better than opponents with sport demands, and remain focused and confident under pressure (Jones, Hanton, & Connaughton, 2002). Previous findings have suggested that MT may be related to both hardiness (Clough, Earle, & Sewell, 2002) and mental skills (Crust & Azadi, 2010). Research Design: Cross-sectional design. Participants: The sample included 159 varsity and club athletes (males = 77, females = 82) aged 18-33 (M = 20.23, SD = 2.05) from a variety of sports. Measures: The Sport Mental Toughness Questionnaire (SMTQ) was used to measure MT. Hardiness was measured using the 15-item Dispositional Resilience Scale (DRS-15). Mental skills were measured using the Test of Performance Strategies (TOPS). Procedures: Pearson product-moment correlations were used to assess the relationships between subscales of MT, hardiness, and mental skills. Results: Significant low to moderate correlations (r = 0.18 to r = 0.63) were found between most SMTQ and TOPS subscales in both practice and competition. Significant low to moderate correlations (r = 0.17 to r = 0.54) were also found between all DRS-15 and SMTQ subscales except challenge and constancy, and both control subscales. Conclusion: The magnitude of correlations between hardiness, mental skills, and MT suggests these constructs are related, yet distinct. These correlations help demonstrate the convergent validity of the SMTQ, as well as potentially exhibit qualities of mentally tough performers in this population.