Examining the association between mental toughness and metacognition

Parker, John K and Jones, Martin I and Lovell, Geoff P (2017) Examining the association between mental toughness and metacognition. Journal of Sports Sciences, 35 (S1). p. 42. ISSN 0264-0414

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Abstract

Metacognition refers to our ability to control, modify, and interpret cognitive activity (Wells & Cartwright-Hatton, 2004, Behaviour Research and Therapy, 42, 385–396). Research suggests dysfunctional metacognitive beliefs can be an important factor in the development and maintenance of mental health problems (Cotter, Yung, Carney, & Drake, 2017, Behaviour Research and Therapy, 90, 25–31). Mental toughness represents a collection of personal resources that may act as a positive indicator of mental health (Gucciardi et al., 2016, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 20, 307–311). Therefore the purpose of our study was to assess whether an inverse relationship existed between mental toughness and metacognitive factors associated with psychopathology. Following institutional ethical approval 60 undergraduate university students (mean age: 21.07 ± 4.19 years) studying various sport science related degree programmes voluntarily consented to participate in the current study. Participants completed the Metacognitions Questionnaire-30 (Wells & Cartwright-Hatton, 2004, Behaviour Research and Therapy, 42, 385–396) and Mental Toughness Index (Gucciardi et al., 2015, Journal of Personality, 83, 26–44). Questionnaires were counterbalanced to reduce order effects with participants on average taking nine minutes to complete both questionnaires. A Pearson bivariate correlation recorded significant negative relationships between the mental toughness index, total MCQ-30 (r = –.334, P < 0.01, BCa 95% CI: –.639–.084) scores, positive beliefs about worry (r = –.329, P = < 0.01, BCa 95% CI: –.652–.010), and negative beliefs about thoughts concerning uncontrollability and danger (r = –.330, P = <0.05, BCa 95% CI: –.652–.109) subscale scores. Our investigation suggests that mental toughness is a state-like psychological resource that may contribute to people being less likely to adopt metacognitive beliefs, judgements, and monitoring tendencies associated with the development and maintenance of psychological disorders. More specifically, mental toughness scores were negatively associated with positive beliefs about worry suggesting that participants were unlikely to consider worrying as a means to cope and avoid problems in the future. In addition, responses to items indicative of persistent worrying thoughts that can be accompanied with unpleasant somatic effects were also inversely associated with mental toughness scores. Practitioners may wish to consider developing higher levels of mental toughness as a means of mitigating against the adoption of negative metacognitive processing and in doing so minimise the emergence of negative mental health symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety).

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Additional Information: Abstract only. Presented at the BASES Conference 2017.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mental toughness; Metacognition
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Sport & Exercise > Sport and Exercise
Research Priority Areas: Sport, Exercise, Health & Wellbeing
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2017 14:11
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2017 14:11
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/5169

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