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Are mental toughness and mental health contradictory concepts in elite sport? A narrative review of theory and evidence

Gucciardi, D. and Hanton, S. and Fleming, S. (2016) Are mental toughness and mental health contradictory concepts in elite sport? A narrative review of theory and evidence. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 20 (3). pp. 307-311. ISSN 1440-2440

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2016.08.006


Athlete development and management encompass a complex interaction of biological, 2 psychological, and social factors. Within elite sport, multidisciplinary sport science and 3 medicine teams play an important role in achieving an optimal balance between preventing 4 athlete ill-health and optimizing health and performance. The psychological aspects of athlete 5 health and performance have gained increased attention over the past two decades, with much 6 of this research concerned with the mental health of athletes and the concept of mental 7 toughness. Recently, it was proposed that mental health and mental toughness are 8 contradictory concepts in the world of elite sport. Although an interesting proposition, this 9 claim was not substantiated. Thus, the purpose of this narrative review was to evaluate theory 10 and evidence regarding the thesis that mental health and mental toughness are contradictory 11 concepts in the world of elite sport, with the view to advance scholarly knowledge and inform 12 professional practice. A critical evaluation of this literature suggests that mental toughness 13 may represent a positive indicator of mental health, or facilitate its attainment, rather than be 14 at odds with it. When implemented alongside multilayered approaches to organizational 15 change (e.g., group structures, policies), mental toughness could be used as a ‘hook’ to attract 16 athletes into settings that can open dialogue on the importance of mental health and improve 17 knowledge of key issues (e.g., stigma, symptoms).

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2016 Sports Medicine Australia. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mentally tough, Mental health stigma, Organizational stressors, Self-actualization, Stress, Thriving
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Research and Innovation Centre
Depositing User: Scott Fleming
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2018 07:44
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2018 01:02
URI: http://researchonline.bishopg.ac.uk/id/eprint/297

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