Advancing mental toughness research and theory using personal construct psychology

Daniel Gucciardi, Sandy Gordon, James Dimmock

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    95 Citations (Scopus)


    This review is designed to advance current conceptualizations of mental toughness in sport as well as identify avenues for future research by offering a fresh perspective using Kelly's (1955/1991) personal construct psychology (PCP). After reviewing sport-general and sport-specific research contributing to current perspectives on mental toughness, we highlight the need for theoretically driven research in the area. Following this, we provide an overview PCP and offer a conceptual model grounded in PCP which attempts to organize the knowledge base as well as provide a platform for future research. In integrating previous research with PCP, we propose a construct definition in which the multidimensional nature of mental toughness, its usefulness for dealing with and thriving through both positively and negatively construed situations, and the processes by which this occurs are highlighted. Specifically, mental toughness is defined as a collection of values, attitudes, emotions, and cognitions that influence the way in which an individual approaches, responds to, and appraises demanding events to consistently achieve his or her goals. To conclude, methodological and conceptual limitations associated with previous research are examined and the PCP model of mental toughness presented here is employed to identify avenues for future research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)54-72
    JournalInternational Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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