Cowden, Richard G., Clough, Peter J. and Oppong Asante, Kwaku (2017) Mental Toughness in South African Youth: Relationships With Forgivingness and Attitudes Towards Risk. Psychological Reports, 120 (2). pp. 271-289. ISSN 0033-2941

Young people are particularly vulnerable to health risk behaviors and interpersonal violence, stimulating scholars’ attention towards identifying factors that may reduce the likelihood that these actions will occur. Associated with positive outcomes in a variety of domains, mental toughness in young people might protect them from engaging in potentially deleterious interpersonal or health-risk behaviors, while potentially promoting positive psychological behaviors. Within this framework, the present study investigated the relationships between mental toughness, attitudes towards physical and psychological risk-taking, and trait forgiveness in a sample of 123 (males = 54, females = 69) South African youth (M age = 23.97 years, SD = 4.46). Univariate and multivariate analyses indicated higher levels of mental toughness were associated with being more forgiving, (η2pηp2 = .036), perceiving physical risk-taking more positively (η2pηp2 = .062), but having more negative attitudes towards psychological risk-taking (η2pηp2 = .036). These findings give credence to mental toughness as a psychological characteristic involved in youth risk-taking perceptions and interpersonal functioning. Future research might explore the integration of mental toughness into the development of future youth risk behavior interventions.

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