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Leadership preferences of mentally tough athletes

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  • C600 Sports Science
  • Political Science


This study examined the leadership preferences of mentally tough athletes. A sample of 103 athletes (M age = 22.06 years, SD = 4.37) participated and ranged from club / university level to county standard in a variety of team sports. Participants completed the Leadership Scale for Sport – Preference Version (Chelladurai & Saleh, 1978) to measure preferred leadership, and the MTQ48 (Clough et al., 2002) to measure mental toughness. Mental toughness was predicted to be significantly and positively related to a preference for training and instructive behaviours, and negatively related to a preference for social support. Linear regression analysis and Pearson correlations were used to analyse the data. Consistent with theoretical predictions, mental toughness was found to be significantly related to a preference for training and instructive behaviours (r = 0.40, P < .01). Results of linear regression analysis revealed the MTQ48 subscales of commitment and challenge were significant predictors of preference for training and instructive behaviours. Total mental toughness was not found to be significantly related to preference for social support, democratic behaviours, autocratic behaviours or positive feedback (P > .05). This suggests that coaches working with mentally tough athletes should consider emphasising training and instructive behaviours if they wish to attain congruence between actual and preferred leadership behaviours. Greater research into the influence of personality upon athlete leadership preferences is encouraged.

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