Trish Jackman PhD Awarded

Some good news to start 2018. Further to her successful viva defence in 2017, Trish Jackman was recently awarded a doctoral degree for a thesis entitled “The relationship between mental toughness and the psychological states underlying excellent performance in sport”. Building on existing work by the MTough Research Group examining the relationship between mental toughness and dispositional flow (frequency of flow experiences) in university athletes (Crust & Swann, 2013), the first study in Trish’s PhD further examined this relationship in sport using mediation analysis. The results indicated further support for the significant and positive relationship found previously between mental toughness and dispositional flow and showed that mental toughness was a significant direct and indirect predictor (i.e., via the conditions of flow) of the characteristics of flow. To build on this initial understanding, the second study explored perceptions of factors related to dispositional flow in athletes with higher and lower mental toughness and dispositional flow. The findings suggested differences in perceptions of the immediacy, sustainment and restoration of flow states between subgroups, with confidence, concentration, coping mechanisms, locus of control, goal orientation, perfectionism and optimism identified as key themes. To move towards developing a more robust approach to investigate the relationship between mental toughness and flow, the third study compared the effectiveness of qualitative and qualitative methods to capture “experience-near” data on flow states in sport. An important finding in this study was that athletes reported two psychological states when performing towards the upper range of their ability: flow and “clutch” (see Swann, Crust & Vella, 2017). Furthermore, the findings suggested that the quantitative measures captured flow and clutch states. In light of these findings, the fourth and final study qualitatively explored the relationship between mental toughness and the processes underlying the occurrence of flow and clutch states. The findings of this study suggested that mental toughness was more closely linked to clutch states rather flow. Trish is now a Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at the University of Lincoln and is currently involved in projects on the psychological states underlying excellent performance in sport and psychological wellbeing in sport, exercise and occupational settings.

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