Mental toughness, Coping Self-Efficacy, and Coping effectiveness among athletes

Adam R. Nicholls *, Andrew R. Levy **, Remco C. J. Polman *** and Lee Crust ****

(*) Department of Psychology, University of Hull, UK
(**) Department of Social and Psychological Sciences, Edge Hill University, UK
(***) Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living,Victoria University, Australia
(****) School of Sport coaching and Exercise Science, University of Lincoln


R. Nicholls, A., R. Levy, A., C. J. Polman, R., Crust, L. (2011). Mental toughness, Coping Self-Efficacy, and Coping effectiveness among athletes. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 42(6), 513-524.


The aim of this study was to examine: (1) the relationship between mental toughness (MT) and coping self-efficacy (CSE), (2) the relationship between MT and coping effectiveness (CE), and (3) the extent to which MT and CSE predicted CE. Participants were 206 athletes (M age = 17.75 years, SD = 3.36) who completed a measure of MT and CSE prior to competing and a measure of CE within 30 minutes of finishing their competitive event. The results of the present study revealed that the most mentally tough athletes have higher levels of CSE and cope more effectively during sport. Furthermore, higher levels CSE and total MT resulted in higher CE scores, with MT predicting an additional 3% of variance compared to the variance from CSE (5.6%). This finding highlights the importance of both CSE and MT in predicting how effectively an athlete will cope with stress.

Keywords: Coping Self-efficacy, Cross-sectional, Mental Toughness