Mental toughness: Managerial and age differences

David C. Marchant, Remco C.J. Polman, Peter J. Clough, James G. Jackson, Andrew R. Levy, Adam R. Nicholls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this study is to investigate whether employees at various levels of managerial positions (e.g. senior, middle, and junior) exhibit different levels of mental toughness. In addition, the study seeks to explore possible effects of age on mental toughness. Design/methodology/approach – A total of 522 participants working in UK/based organisations completed demographic information and the Mental Toughness Questionnaire. Findings – Results revealed significant main effects for both managerial position and age. Follow/up analysis revealed that mental toughness ratings were higher in more senior positions, and that mental toughness generally increased with age. Research limitations/implications – The main limitation of the study is its cross/sectional design. Longitudinal studies investigating the development of mental toughness over time or the effect of mental toughness training are needed. It appears, however, that age plays a role in an individual's mental toughness profile. This suggests that increased exposure to significant life events may have a positive developmental effect on mental toughness. Originality/value – The results of the study would suggest that mental toughness can be developed through appropriate training programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-437
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


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