2016, Volume 12, Issue 1

Mental toughness and perfectionism in judo: differences by achievement and age. The relation between constructs

Ernesto Suárez-Cadenas1, Tijana Sretković2, José C. Perales3, Jelica Petrović2, Katarzyna Sterkowicz-Przybycień4, Maja Batez5, Patrik Drid5

1Departament of Physical Education and Sport, , University of Granada, Spain
2Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Psychology, University of Novi Sad, Serbia
3Department of Experimental Psychology; Mind, Brain and Behaviour Research Center , University of Granada, Spain
4Department of Gymnastics and Dance, Institute of Sport Sciences, University of Physical Education in Cracow, Poland
5Faculty of Sport and Physical Education, University of Novi Sad, Serbia

Author for correspondence: Patrik Drid; Faculty of Sport and Physical Education, University of Novi Sad, Serbia; email: patrik.drid@vojvodina.gov.rs

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Background and Study Aim: The relationship between mental toughness (MT) and perfectionism has not been established to date. The main aim of this study is: knowledge about MT, perfectionistic strivings, and perfectionistic concerns of judo athletes by achievement level and age; relationship between MT and perfectionism dimensions.

Material and Methods: A total of 118 judokas (24 females) aged between 16 and 69 years (mean age = 28.73 ±13.96) were divided into sub-elite (national medallists), elite and veterans (both international medallists). The Sports Mental Toughness Questionnaire (SMTQ) was used to measure MT. Following Gotwals and Stoeber’s guidelines, perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns were measured by using different subscales from two questionnaires.

Results: Veterans scored higher than elite and sub-elite athletes on MT (F(2.115) = 14.59; p<0.001; η²p = 0.20), showing that MT is age-dependent but does not seem to discriminate between judokas exceeding a certain competitive-level threshold. Perfectionistic strivings global scores only differed between veterans and sub-elite groups (F(2.115) = 7.08; p = 0.001; η²p = 0.11), specific analyses of the personal standards subscale showed that veterans and elite athletes scored higher than sub-elites, whereas on the strivings for perfection subscale, veterans scored higher than both elite and sub-elite athletes. Linear regression models showed that MT is positively associated with perfectionistic strivings (B = 0.39; SE Β = 0.05; p<0.001), and negatively associated with perfectionistic concerns (B = −0.25; SE B = 0.04; p<0.001).

Conclusions: These results seem to indicate that some perfectionism characteristics could be trainable. Future studies could determine how MT improvements impact on perfectionism dimensions.

Key words: stress, psychological preparation, combat sport, concerns, strivings