The aims of this study were to assess the cross-cultural invariance of athletes’ self-reports of mental toughness and to introduce and illustrate the application of approximate measurement invariance using Bayesian estimation for sport and exercise psychology scholars. Athletes from Australia (n = 353, Mage = 19.13, SD = 3.27, men = 161), China (n = 254, Mage = 17.82, SD = 2.28, men = 138), and Malaysia (n = 341, Mage = 19.13, SD = 3.27, men = 200) provided a cross-sectional snapshot of their mental toughness. The cross-cultural invariance of the mental toughness inventory in terms of (a) the factor structure (configural invariance), (b) factor loadings (metric invariance), and (c) item intercepts (scalar invariance) was tested using an approximate measurement framework with Bayesian estimation. Results indicated that approximate metric and scalar invariance was established. From a methodological standpoint, this study demonstrated the usefulness and flexibility of Bayesian estimation for single-sample and multigroup analyses of measurement instruments. Substantively, the current findings suggest that the measurement of mental toughness requires cultural adjustments to better capture the contextually salient (emic) aspects of this concept.
Daniel F. Gucciardi is with the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia. Chun-Qing Zhang is with the Department of Physical Education, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong. Vellapandian Ponnusamy is with the Institut Sukan Negara, National Sports Institute of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Gangyan Si is with the Department of Health and Physical Education, The Education University of Hong Kong, Tai Po, Hong Kong. Andreas Stenling is with the Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.