Mental Toughness in Education
- Helen St. Clair-ThompsonHelen St. Clair-ThompsonNewcastle University
- and Sarah McGeownSarah McGeownUniversity of Edinburgh
Mental toughness encompasses a range of positive psychological resources which have been found to be beneficial across a wide range of contexts (e.g., education, sports, work). According to the most popular model used in education contexts, the attributes of challenge, commitment, control (emotion, life), and confidence (in abilities and interpersonal) have been found to be beneficial across a wide range of educational outcomes and experiences, including school attainment, attendance, classroom behavior, peer relationships, academic motivation and engagement, and the ease of educational transitions. However, conceptual debates of mental toughness (e.g., trait vs. state; domain specificity) are ongoing and pose important questions for the operationalization and measurement of mental toughness as it continues to be explored across different educational settings. Of particular importance is the debate about whether mental toughness is a state or a trait. Being a state indicates it could be developed given the right environment and support, suggesting value in working with pupils and teachers to develop interventions. Further research is therefore necessary to fully understand whether, how, and why we can utilize the development of mental toughness to optimize educational outcomes.