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J Sports Sci. 2014;32(2):101-9. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2013.812230. Epub 2013 Aug 22.

Self-concept organisation and mental toughness in sport.

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  • 1a Department of Sport and Exercise Psychology , Teesside University , Middlesbrough , UK.


The present study examines the relationship between individual differences in evaluative self-organisation and mental toughness in sport, proposing that motivation and emotional resiliency (facets of mental toughness) stem from differences in core self. A cross-sectional assessment of 105 athletes competing at a range of performance levels took part in an online study including measures of self-reported mental toughness (Sport Mental Toughness Questionnaire; Sheard, M., Golby, J., & van Wersch, A. (2009). Progress towards construct validation of the Sports Mental Toughness Questionnaire (SMTQ). European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 25(3), 186-193. doi:10.1027/1015-5759.25.3.186) and self-organisation (self-descriptive attribute task; Showers, C. J. (2002). Integration and compartmentalisation: A model of self-structure and self-change. In D. Cervone & W. Mischel (Eds.), Advances in personality science (pp. 271-291). New York, NY: Guilford Press). As predicted, global mental toughness was associated with self-concept positivity, which was particularly high in individuals with positive-integrative self-organisation (individuals who distribute positive and negative self-attributes evenly across multiple selves). Specifically, positive integration was associated with constancy (commitment to goal achievement despite obstacles and the potential for failure), which extends presumably from positive integratives' emotional stability and drive to resolve negative self-beliefs.

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