Mental Toughness Research Group

Examining Mental Toughness

Research examining the importance of mental toughness across a broad range of contexts including sport, exercise, health and education. The focus is on both theoretical understanding and application of knowledge to enable people to learn how to cope with setbacks and adversity.  

For more information please see below, or visit our Research blog page and Twitter

What are we Doing?

We are investigating the role of mental toughness, primarily (but not exclusively) in sport and exercise settings.  Our research aims to provide an understanding of how and why mentally tough individuals are able to withstand pressure and adversity, and to develop models and interventions to enhance mental toughness.


Why is it important?

The ability to effectively deal with stress is important in regards to achieving optimal performance across a range of disciplines but it’s equally important in relation to psychological health.  Mental toughness is a vital resistance resource that can help buffer the potential negative effects of stress and has been shown to be related to effective coping and psychological wellbeing in various different domains (e.g., sport, exercise, education, business). At a time when the importance of mental health is becoming increasingly recognised, it is vital to understand how mental toughness can help people to fulfil potential and remain healthy when faced with the challenges of modern life.


How are we different?

By using a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches, MTOUGH researchers have been studying elite athletes to understand how the components of mental toughness enable optimal functioning in high pressured situations. Using a positive psychological approach the team are focused upon understanding the mechanisms that underlie mental toughness and developing interventions to enable others to deal with challenges more effectively. Our approach is about developing personal resources that are useful across the spectrum of life domains.   


Academic Staff

Dr Lee Crust 

Senior Lecturer

Dr Adam Coussens

Senior Lecturer

Dr Patricia Jackman


Miss Rebecca Hawkins





MTOUGH - Latest 10 deposits 

The impact of mental toughness on lifestyle choices in university students

Students moving to university can experience a challenging transition; potentially leading to an unhealthy lifestyle, e.g., inadequate physi...

Exploring the interactions underlying flow states: a connecting analysis of flow occurrence in European Tour golfers

Objectives: Research to date has identified a range of factors suggested to facilitate flow states in sport. However, less attention has foc...

Relationships between mental toughness and psychological wellbeing in undergraduate students

This study examined relationships between mental toughness (MT) and psychological wellbeing (PWB) in undergraduate students. Following previ...

Effect of mental toughness on weight loss at a national weight loss group

Adhering a to diet programme to lose weight can be challenging. Individual differences are proposed to influence adherence to healthy lifest...

An inductive exploration into the flow experiences of European Tour golfers

This study explored perceptions regarding the experience of flow (Csikszentmihalyi 1975) in elite golf; a sport which is different to those ...

Defining elite athletes: issues in the study of expert performance in sport psychology

Objectives: There has been considerable inconsistency and confusion in the definition of elite/expert athletes in sport psychology research,...

The relationship between mental toughness and psychological wellbeing in undergraduate students

Recent research has highlighted concerns over the mental health of university students. All three years of standard undergraduate study has ...

Producing employable graduates in sport: maximising the benefits of volunteering

Concern has been expressed about the low proportion of sports graduates finding careers within the field (Minten, 2010). Recently-commission...

A connecting analysis of flow occurrence in elite golfers

In sport psychology, flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 2002) is an intrinsically rewarding state in which individuals perceive a balance between chall...

A phenomenological exploration of exercise mental toughness: perceptions of exercise leaders and regular exercisers

Although elite sport has provided an ideal context for exploring mental toughness (MT), currently, there is scant research examining how thi...