Mental toughness development through adolescence: Effects of age group and community size

Anna M. Zalewska1, Beata Krzywosz-Rynkiewicz2, Peter J. Clough3, Neil Dagnall3
1Department of Individual Differences and Psychological Diagnosis, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poland
2Department of Psychology of Development and Education, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland
3Department of Psychology, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
Cite this article:  Zalewska, A. M., Krzywosz-Rynkiewicz, B., Clough, P. J., & Dagnall, N. (2019). Mental toughness development through adolescence: Effects of age group and community size. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 47(1), e7376.

Volume 47 Issue 1 | e7376 | Published: January 2019 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.7376

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Scholars have reported that mental toughness (MT) moderates stress, helps with regaining balance after failure, and promotes mobilizing action. Accordingly, we used the Mental Toughness Questionnaire-48 to explore stage-related MT differences in a sample of 342 teenagers representing 3 stages of adolescence: 11-year-olds (early adolescence; n = 104), 14-year-olds (middle adolescence; n = 125), and 17-year-olds (late adolescence; n = 113), who came from either a large city or a small town. Analysis revealed that although MT increased across the stages of adolescence, the degree of change varied between subscales of the Mental Toughness Questionnaire-48: challenge and confidence increased, whereas control and commitment remained unchanged. Moreover, age effects also varied as a function of community size. The findings illustrate the advantage of using a multi-dimensional model of toughness for better understanding its development processes. Moreover, they could inform the design of training programs aimed at targeting problem behaviors, for example, encouraging attendance at and enhancing academic performance programs.

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