Athletes may confront diverse psychological situations before, during, and after training or competition, and such conditions may affect their competitive performance. Thus, mental toughness becomes a significant factor in coping with such adverse situations. The present study attempted to explore the mental toughness of combat athletes by their demographics. The sample was composed of 207 (93 females, 114 males) elite athletes engaging in taekwondo, karate, and kickboxing. The data were collected using a demographic information form and the Sports Mental Toughness Questionnaire (SMTQ). Independent samples t-test and one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) were utilized to analyze the data. Moreover, the Scheffe test was used to perform multiple comparisons of the significant differences. The findings revealed significant differences in favor of males in the taekwondo athletes' SMTQ total and subscale scores and karate athletes' confidence scores. It was concluded that the athletes aged 23-26 years had significantly higher mental toughness levels than those aged 15-18 and 19-22 years. It was also found that taekwondo athletes significantly differed from kickbox and karate athletes by their SMTQ scores (both total score and subscale scores). Those with a high-income level scored significantly higher on the SMTQ (both total score and subscale scores) than the participants with middle- and low-income levels. Moreover, it was documented that the more seniority the participants had, the higher scores they obtained on the SMTQ. Finally, those participating in training 4+ days a week had significantly higher constancy and control scores than those having training 3 days a week, while it was the case between the participants having training 2 days a week and those with 1-day training per week by SMTQ total score. Overall, it was concluded that gender, age, sports branch, income level, seniority, and training frequency affected the participants’ mental toughness levels.
Combat sports, mental toughness, performance.