The development and validation of the Inventory of Mental Toughness Factors in Sport (IMTF-S)
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The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a new measure of mental toughness in sport. The role of mental toughness in sport has been characterized as key in assisting athletes to obtain success by optimizing practice, overcome failures, and develop the mental skills necessary to win (Norris, 1999). A literature review concluded with six concepts (hardiness, coping, self-efficacy, mindset, resilience, and optimism) being used to develop an 80-item instrument measuring mental toughness on a 5-point Likert scale (always-never). Athletes (N=359, 195 males, 164 females, mean age = 17.57, SD = 3.4) drawn from a variety of sports were administered the Inventory of Mental Toughness Factors in Sport (IMTF-S) during the spring of 2011. Item analysis and principal component analysis yielded a four-factor 48-item model with an overall reliability (Cronbach's alpha) score of .925. The mental toughness factors and corresponding reliability scores were labeled as follows: Identification (.933), Negation (.812), Determination (.765), and Motivation (.890). Test-retest reliability measures were also obtained on a sample of 25 athletes (r= .892). Concurrent validity was demonstrated (r= .798, p ≤ .001) by comparing a set of scores (N= 75) on the IMTF-S and the Psychological Performance Inventory (PPI; Loehr, 1986). Predictive validity was assessed by comparing means of three sample's scores with ratings of their respective coaches. One independent samples t-test on a high school boys lacrosse team (N=18) indicated that the IMTF-S may have predictive properties (p= .021), however two other samples (women's elite field hockey, N=19) and junior A ice hockey (N=24) revealed non-significant findings when coaches ratings were compared to athlete self-assessment. Finally, correlation analysis found no significant relationships between mental toughness and age or experience. The results of this study provide empirical evidence for the valid use of the IMTF-S in measuring mental toughness in athletes. Perhaps of greater importance is that this study bolsters the existing research on mental toughness and further promotes its identification and development in assisting athletes in overcoming high-pressured and adverse conditions in their sporting environments.
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