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Mental toughness: managerial and age differences

Polman, Remco C J; Marchant, David C.; Polman, Remco C. J.; Clough, Peter J.; Jackson, James G.; Levy, Andrew R.; Nicholls, Adam R.


Remco C J Polman

David C. Marchant

Remco C. J. Polman

Peter J. Clough

James G. Jackson

Andrew R. Levy

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Professor Adam Nicholls
Professor of Psychology/ Leader of the Sport Psychology and Coaching Group


Purpose - The purpose of this study is to investigate whether employees at various levels of managerial positions (e.g. senior, middle, and junior) exhibit different levels of mental toughness. In addition, the study seeks to explore possible effects of age on mental toughness. Design/methodology/approach - A total of 522 participants working in UK-based organisations completed demographic information and the Mental Toughness Questionnaire. Findings - Results revealed significant main effects for both managerial position and age. Follow-up analysis revealed that mental toughness ratings were higher in more senior positions, and that mental toughness generally increased with age. Research limitations/implications - The main limitation of the study is its cross-sectional. design. Longitudinal studies investigating the development of mental toughness over time or the effect of mental toughness training are needed. It appears, however, that age plays a role in an individual's mental toughness profile. This suggests that increased exposure to significant life events may have a positive developmental effect on mental toughness. Originality/value - The results of the study would suggest that mental toughness can be developed through appropriate training programmes.


Marchant, D. C., Polman, R. C. J., Clough, P. J., Jackson, J. G., Levy, A. R., & Nicholls, A. R. (2009). Mental toughness: managerial and age differences. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 24(5), 428-437.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 31, 2009
Publication Date Jun 26, 2009
Print ISSN 0268-3946
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 5
Pages 428-437
Keywords Applied Psychology; Management Science and Operations Research; Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management; Social Psychology
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