Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Mental Toughness and Associated Personality Characteristics of Marathon des Sables Athletes

Goddard, Keith; Roberts, Claire-Marie; Anderson, Liam; Woodford, Lindsay; Byron-Daniel, James


Keith Goddard

Liam Anderson


Mental toughness (MT) is commonly referred to as an important prerequisite for sustained athletic achievement. The increased research focus on MT has led to the development of a consistent debate centered around whether the construct is a unidimensional or multidimensional trait, and whether it can be differentiated from similar constructs such as hardiness. In order to move toward more clarity of MT, the present study is exploratory in nature, using athletes who have competed in the Marathon des Sables (MdS) ultra-endurance event. The MdS is a timed 250 km race in the Sahara Desert that takes place over 6 days in temperatures exceeding 40°C. Forty two British MdS competitors were recruited via the United Kingdom organizing company. Each participant completed the NEO PI-R as a measure of the five major domains of personality, as well as the six traits or facets that define each domain. Additionally, they completed the Sport Mental Toughness Questionnaire (SMTQ). The MdS sample’s NEO PI-R results were compared against general population norms, and results showed a distinct ultra-endurance athlete profile characterized by significantly higher levels of extraversion and openness to experience. Additionally, the MdS sample’s SMTQ scores were higher than the normed sample consisting of a collection of athletes representing multiple sports. Finally, linear regression analyses indicated a convergence between the two measures, supporting the argument that MT may in fact be measured by a general personality questionnaire such as the NEO PI-R.


Goddard, K., Roberts, C., Anderson, L., Woodford, L., & Byron-Daniel, J. (2019). Mental Toughness and Associated Personality Characteristics of Marathon des Sables Athletes. Frontiers in Psychology, 10,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 20, 2019
Online Publication Date Oct 4, 2019
Publication Date Oct 4, 2019
Deposit Date Oct 4, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 7, 2019
Journal Frontiers in Psychology
Electronic ISSN 1664-1078
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Series Title Movement Science & Sport Psychology
Keywords General Psychology
Public URL
Publisher URL


Mental Toughness and Associated Personality Characteristics of Marathon des Sables Athletes (260 Kb)


Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2019 Goddard, Roberts, Anderson, Woodford and Byron-Daniel. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted
academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations