Mental toughness

Mental toughness assessment and development

Below I will try to answer some frequently asked questions about mental toughness assessment and development as done by an educational psychologist.

What is mental toughness (MT)?

Clough and Strycharczyk (2012: 1) define mental toughness as “The quality which determines in large part how people deal effectively with challenge, stressors and pressure…irrespective of prevailing circumstances”. It is therefore an indication of how well people cope with difficulties in their lives.

Why is MT important?

Studies* in the occupational, educational and sports worlds consistently show that being mentally tough is directly related to:
Performance. Individuals with high MT perform better in terms of volume and quality of work.
Behaviour. Individuals with higher MT demonstrate positive behaviours.
Wellbeing. Individuals with higher MT experience a greater sense of well being.
Aspirations. Being mentally tough is positively correlated with career and general aspirations.
Employability. There is a clear relationship between an individual's mental toughness and their ability to get a job, and to get the job they want.
Completion and Drop-Out rates. Individuals with higher mental toughness tend to stick with a programme and see it through to completion.

Mental toughness is measured with the Mental Toughness questionnaire (MTQ48), which is a 48-item instrument measuring four different elements of performance related characteristics.

These sub-scales are:
Challenge (tenacity or stickability),
Control (self worth, efficacy),
Commitment (seeing opportunity, not threats), and
Confidence (self belief).

The MTQ48 is also available in a youth version, specifically designed to measure mental toughness in young people.

Can mental toughness be developed?

Absolutely. Once it is measured (using the MTQ48), a therapy program is developed to guide the person in developing certain characteristics that can improve mental toughness. The usual guidelines for individual therapy applies.

It is also possible to do a re-test of how mentally tough you have become, after some time during which the person could have practiced his/her new mental toughness skills. Comparing the pre- and post-test gives a picture showing the improvement or "journey traveled" in developing mental toughness.

To make an appointment to measure your mental toughness, or maybe those of your company's personnel, contact me here.

* Reference: MTQ48 User Guide by AQR Ltd.

Mental toughness


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