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Cross-Cultural Invariance of the Mental Toughness Inventory Among Australian, Chinese, and Malaysian Athletes: A Bayesian Estimation Approach

Daniel F. Gucciardi, Chun-Qing Zhang, Vellapandian Ponnusamy, Gangyan Si, and Andreas Stenling

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, M age = 19.13, SD = 3.27, men = 161), China (n = 254, M age = 17.82, SD = 2.28, men = 138), and Malaysia (n = 341, M age = 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.