Differences in mental toughness across types of contact


Objective: To determine differences in mental toughness between sports involving differing types of contact. Background: Mental toughness is a concept that has been linked with superior performance. It is considered a multidimensional construct that allows competitors to generally cope better than their opponents with many sport related demands. Research Design: This study utilized an observational cross-sectional design. Participants: The sample for this study included 159 varsity and club athletes (males = 77, females = 82) aged 18-33 (M = 20.23, SD = 2.05) from a variety of sport teams. Independent Variable: This investigation used type of contact as an independent variable. All sports were classified according to three levels: non-contact, contact, and collision. Outcomes: Mental toughness was measured using the Sport Mental Toughness Questionnaire (SMTQ). It consists of 14 items relating to three subscales of confidence, control, and constancy, and a global score consisting of all 14 items. Analysis: A one way ANOVA was used to assess differences between types of contact on all scales of the SMTQ. Results: Significant differences were found for the control (p = 0.002), confidence (p = 0.002), and global (p < 0.001) scales. On all of these scales, collision and contact sports scored significantly lower than non-contact sports. No significant differences were found between contact and collision sports. Conclusion: It appears that athletes engaging in collision and contact sports demonstrate less control, confidence, and overall mental toughness, than their non-contact counterparts while no differences in constancy were found.

Acknowledgments: Dr. Tak Fung