THE IMPACT OF MENTAL TOUGHNESS AS A PSYCHOLOGICAL PREDICTOR OF SPORTS INJURY AMONG BRITISH AMATEUR TRIATHLETES
Bowyer, Danielle Jasmine
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Injury is common in the sport of triathlon, and the relationship between psychological factors and injury is an under-researched area. In light of this, the objective of the study was to determine whether mental toughness can be used as a psychological predictor of injuries in British amateur triathletes. This study involved the administration of a 3-section questionnaire examining demographics, mental toughness, and injury history. The Mental Toughness 18 item questionnaire (MT18) was utilised to measure participants’ competitive desire, focus, confidence and resilience, providing an overall score for mental toughness. Participants were classified into categories of low, medium and high mental toughness. Data collected from this study illustrates that assessment of mental toughness can provide useful information regarding injury risk. The results demonstrate that many British triathletes competing at amateur level have medium-high levels of mental toughness, a reflection of the demanding nature of triathlon. Analysis showed high incidence of injuries in triathletes. The majority of those who sustained injuries had high mental toughness. Additionally, data was obtained regarding the frequency, nature, mechanisms and severity of injuries. Most injuries were moderate in severity and resulted in absence from training for 2-4 weeks. Acute injuries were reported more frequently than chronic, with injuries occurring mostly during training as opposed to racing. The most common injury was muscular strain, which occurred most frequently in the upper and lower leg. Injuries correlated with race distance, with Ironmen and sprint distance triathletes sustaining the most injuries. This study concluded that mental toughness can be used as a psychological predictor of injury in British amateur triathletes. Previous studies have examined mental toughness and injuries in sport independently. Therefore, this is the first study of its kind which investigated the extent to which mental toughness can be utilised for injury prevention, specifically in triathletes. In terms of the use of these findings for the implementation of subsequent actions, it is recommended that triathletes attend awareness programmes to educate them on mental toughness and injury prevention.
BSc (Hons) Sports Biomedicine and Nutrition
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