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Examining the Mental Toughness profiles of psychology undergraduates across six continents to explore where, and if, cultural differences can be detected and identified.

The Mental Toughness concept has emerged as one of the most important advances in the field of people and organization development over the past 20 years.

It is a fundamental aspect of personality which describes the mental response to stressors, pressure, opportunity, and challenge. It is a major factor in behaviour, performance, and wellbeing, as well as agility and aspirations. The validated MTQPlus psychometric scale enables users to assess this trait across 8 independent factors.

Now used in more than 80 countries, one of the most frequently asked questions from practitioners and academics is “Is mental toughness, our mental response, different across different cultures. If so, how?”. A wealth of case studies indicates a possible answer, but we do not yet have firm, empirical evidence and we seek to ensure that all claims we make regarding mental toughness are evidenced.

Therefore, to answer the question, we have organised a major study with a working title of

“An exploration of consistencies and differences in mental toughness across cultures”.

The intention is to gather data on mental toughness using the MTQPlus across the globe to (a) examine measurement invariance, (b) determine cultural variance, and (c) explore socio-demographic variables of interest.

The target population is strictly psychology undergraduate students from around the world.

Data collection is set for October 2022 to December 2023. We are delighted to confirm that expressions of interest have been received from 77 Universities from over 40 countries in all inhabited continents. Most are already beginning data collection.

This will make the study one of the biggest of its type and very comprehensive in its coverage of different cultures and setting.

Interest from other institutions is still welcome.

The study is collaboration between AQR International and Dr John Perry of the University of Limerick. The research will be led by Dr John Perry.  He will be assisted by Prof. Peter Clough and Doug Strycharczyk of AQR International as well as Dr Ganka Ivanova of Al Ain University.

Dr John Perry will be the lead author for papers emerging from the analysis of global data.

It is expected that a paper addressing the core questions will be available in third quarter 2023.

In addition, the study will examine three factors that have been identified through the World Economic Forum as important for personal success in the 21st Century. Data will be collected on:

  • Trust
  • Curiosity and
  • Innovation/Creativity

This will allow us to explore the relationship between mental toughness factors and these three success factors, effectively seeking to identify whether there are particular aspects of mindset that are particularly relevant.

The concept of mental toughness is used widely in employee and leadership development, OD, team working, retention, and employability programs as well as in sport, education, and social mobility programs.

Academic Institutions interested in participating should contact:

Dr John Perry at

Doug Strycharczyk at

Practitioners and organisations interested in learning more about mental toughness and its applications, including training to use the concept and measure should contact: