Motivational correlates of mentally tough behaviours in tennis

Gucciardi, Daniel F., Jackson, Ben, Hanton, Sheldon and Reid, Machar (2015) Motivational correlates of mentally tough behaviours in tennis. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 18 1: 67-71. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2013.11.009

Author Gucciardi, Daniel F.
Jackson, Ben
Hanton, Sheldon
Reid, Machar
Title Motivational correlates of mentally tough behaviours in tennis
Journal name Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1878-1861
Publication date 2015-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jsams.2013.11.009
Open Access Status
Volume 18
Issue 1
Start page 67
End page 71
Total pages 5
Place of publication Chatswood, NSW Australia
Publisher Elsevier Australia
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine motivational correlates of mentally tough behaviours among adolescent tennis players.


Two-phase study, involving the development of an informant-rated measure of mentally tough behaviours, followed by a cross-sectional survey including athlete and parent assessments of study variables.


In Phase One, 17 adult, high-performance tennis coaches and 20 athletes participated in focus group interviews. Four scholars with expertise in performance psychology also completed a short, online survey. In Phase Two, a total of 347 adolescent tennis players (nmales = 184; nfemales = 163) aged 12–18 years (M = 13.93, SD = 1.47) and one respective parent took part in this study. An online multisection survey containing dimensions of passion, inspiration, fear of failure, and mentally tough behaviours was completed. Athletes self-reported all motivational variables, whereas parents rated their child solely on mentally tough behaviours.


Structural equation modelling revealed that harmonious passion (β = .26, p < .01) and frequency of inspiration (β = .32, p < .001) were associated with significantly higher levels of mentally tough behaviours. In contrast, fear of failure (β = −.32, p < .001) and obsessive passion (β = −.15, p < .01) were inversely related to mentally tough behaviours. Inspiration intensity was not significantly associated with mentally tough behaviour (β = .13, p = .21).


Motivational variables that are dispositional in nature, contextualised and contingent upon features of the environment, and concern one's identity are important considerations for understanding mentally tough behaviours.
Keyword Characteristic adaptations
Personality levels
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online ahead of print 27 Nov 2014

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
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