" Since the Mental Toughness Programme the Directors have shown a staggering degree of resilience and bravery "
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-Director Kent, Probation Service

mental toughness what is it?

Definitions Origins & Research mt Applications

Clough's research demonstrates that mental toughness can be categorised according to four key components:

  • Control is an indication of how comfortable an individual feels managing highly complex tasks, and is broken down into emotional control and life control

  • Commitment in an individual allows them to stick at a task regardless of barriers in their path
  • Challenge shows how individuals can turn threats into opportunities, often preferring to work in situations subject to ongoing change

  • Confidence provides individuals with the self belief to overcome setbacks and finish tasks successfully.


In association with TCA Consultants, Clough developed the MTQ48, a questionnaire first published in 2002 and which uniquely allows an individual's mental toughness to be measured. Based on a person's responses to the questionnaire, a score and report across the four key components can be developed.

These scores can be used to build personalised development programmes that enable people to increase their mental toughness. This in turn helps them improve their personal performance and the overall performance of the organisations to which they belong.

AQR provides those being assessed for mental toughness to access the MTQ48 questionnaire online, via their accredited practitioner. It has created sophisticated software that can automatically produce basic reports, which are further interpreted by a mental toughness practitioner as part of a feedback session.

Recent research by the Universities of Parma and Modena & Reggio has discovered a direct link between mental toughness and genetic and environmental influences. Brain scans have shown a correlation between areas of the brain and levels of mental toughness as identified by the MTQ48. This suggests some individuals have naturally higher levels of mental toughness and that mental toughness can be developed by environmental influences, such as a development programme.