Budell Noel1, Peter Beitia1, Andreas Stamatis, FACSM2, Zacharias Papadakis1. 1Barry University, Miami Shores, FL. 2SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY.

BACKGROUND: Mental toughness (MT) research is predominantly cross-sectional and based on self-assessment. MT has been consistently positively associated with performance metrics when investigated in stressful and demanding environments, such as sports and tactical. The Military Training Mental Toughness Inventory (MTMTI) is used to measure MT from a tactical athlete perspective. Like military personnel, firefighting action requires firefighters to perform under intense pressure in highly stressful environments, characterized by fear, fatigue, and anxiety caused mainly by risk to one’s life. MT in firefighting research is scarce. There is no firefighting-specific MT instrument. This study examined the inter-rater reliability of MTMTI in firefighters via a repeated-measure design. METHODS: Fourteen male firefighters (Age: 29.0 ± 7.0; BMI: 26.3 ± 2.7) were recruited from two fire departments. Data collection took place over two days (one administration per day). The level of the MT of the participants was assessed via the MTMTI, which was administered to two of their officers (peer-rating). The MTMTI includes six items rating on a 7-point Likert scale (1: Never; 7: Always) how well an individual can maintain a high level of performance when confronted with stressful situations in their tactical occupation (e.g., “when the conditions are difficult”, “when he has been reprimanded or punished”). Inter-rater reliability was assessed by Cohen’s κ, Cronbach’s α, McDonald’s ω, and interclass correlation coefficient (ICC) using R statistical packages in Jamovi version 2.3 (p < .05). RESULTS: Kappa coefficient of inter-rater reliability was none to slight (.04, p = .38) with 7% of agreement between the two raters. Alpha, omega, and inter-rater coefficients of inter-rater reliability were poor (.51, .53, .51, p = .1, 95%CI [-.24, .81], respectively). Inter-rater correlation was .36, p > .05. CONCLUSION: Our results do not indicate agreement between the two raters. Therefore, the inferences of the MT scores of these two different raters are not in agreement, either. Reasons could include the unsuitability of MTMTI for firefighters and/or raters having a different perception of what constitutes MT. Regardless, practitioners should be cautious when interpreting the scores of the MTMTI on this specific tactical population.

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