Acceptance Committment Therapy, Positive Psychology, and the Development of Mental Toughness

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Byrne, Ronan
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Mental Toughness is strongly correlated with lower levels of perceived stress, fewer depressive symptoms, lower levels of anxiety, and higher overall psychological well-being. Mental toughness is a multidimensional personality trait that is trainable. However, despite its positive attributes and potential applications, mental toughness remains primarily associated with elite athletes and competition and is not readily accessible nor applied to the average person or their daily lives. This paper aims to review the current research and conceptualizations of mental toughness, redefine mental toughness as a life skill, and outline a twelve-week mental toughness development program called the strong body stronger mind program. The literature review found that there are currently two dominant conceptualizations of mental toughness today, the Jones et al.'s model and the 4C model. After reviewing the models and current research, nine attributes of mental toughness were identified as common to both models and critical to developing a successful program. The stronger body stronger mind program was developed by combining the strength-based approach of positive psychology and the action-orientated behavioural focus of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as a framework upon which to teach the skills required to develop the identified attributes of mental toughness.
grit , mental toughness , self-determination theory , acceptance commitment therapy , positive psychology , prevalence-induced concept change