Mental toughness and coping in an ultra-endurance event

Crust, Lee (2008) Mental toughness and coping in an ultra-endurance event. In: BPS Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology Inaugural Conference, December 11th-12th 2008, London.

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Abstract

Objective: Research attempts to understand mental toughness have predominantly focused upon retrospective accounts of elite athletes. To facilitate a broader understanding, we investigated non-elite athlete’s perceptions of mental toughness, and the relationship between mental toughness and coping in a demanding ultra-endurance (100 km walk/run) event.
Design: A qualitative approach was adopted that allowed athletes to describe their coping strategies in situ to reduce concerns over inaccurate recall. An inductive content analysis was used to analyse the data
Method: A two-stage procedure was adopted: First, 12 non-elite sports participants were questioned during the early, middle and later stages of the Trailwalker UK event. Participants reported how they were coping, and the personal attributes that were enabling them to persist. Second, successful participants described the attributes of the ideal mentally tough trailwalker in a follow-up focus group, which was attended by the three men and four women who completed the event. Data was transcribed, and the most important themes to emerge were identified by the research team and agreed with the participants.
Results: All athletes suffered overuse injuries. The main coping strategies employed included compartmentalising the problem, normalising pain, maintaining perspective, thinking objectively, dissociating, detachment, humour, and social support. The ideal trailwalker reportedly possessed tenacity, total commitment to goals, objectivity, humility, confidence, and thrived on challenges.
Conclusions: These results offer support to the 4C’s model of mental toughness. Mentally tough walkers showed exceptional adaptability and flexibility in their coping. The relationship between mental toughness and coping appears complex and requires further investigation.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Presentation)
Additional Information:Objective: Research attempts to understand mental toughness have predominantly focused upon retrospective accounts of elite athletes. To facilitate a broader understanding, we investigated non-elite athlete’s perceptions of mental toughness, and the relationship between mental toughness and coping in a demanding ultra-endurance (100 km walk/run) event. Design: A qualitative approach was adopted that allowed athletes to describe their coping strategies in situ to reduce concerns over inaccurate recall. An inductive content analysis was used to analyse the data Method: A two-stage procedure was adopted: First, 12 non-elite sports participants were questioned during the early, middle and later stages of the Trailwalker UK event. Participants reported how they were coping, and the personal attributes that were enabling them to persist. Second, successful participants described the attributes of the ideal mentally tough trailwalker in a follow-up focus group, which was attended by the three men and four women who completed the event. Data was transcribed, and the most important themes to emerge were identified by the research team and agreed with the participants. Results: All athletes suffered overuse injuries. The main coping strategies employed included compartmentalising the problem, normalising pain, maintaining perspective, thinking objectively, dissociating, detachment, humour, and social support. The ideal trailwalker reportedly possessed tenacity, total commitment to goals, objectivity, humility, confidence, and thrived on challenges. Conclusions: These results offer support to the 4C’s model of mental toughness. Mentally tough walkers showed exceptional adaptability and flexibility in their coping. The relationship between mental toughness and coping appears complex and requires further investigation.
Keywords:Mental Toughness, Coping
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C810 Applied Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:6274
Deposited By: Lee Crust
Deposited On:27 Sep 2012 11:36
Last Modified:27 Sep 2012 11:39

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