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An iron will runs in the family

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    An iron will runs in the family * 29 October 2008 * NewScientist.com news service THE iron will you need to bounce back and win in sport, or pass exams even
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 30, 2008
      An iron will runs in the family

          * 29 October 2008
          * NewScientist.com news service

      THE iron will you need to bounce back and win in sport, or pass exams even when the chips are down, may be largely inherited. Tenacious winners - such as cyclist Lance Armstrong (pictured), who recovered from testicular cancer and went on to win the Tour de France seven times - are naturally tough, a new study suggests, and it may be difficult to boost people who are not naturally resilient.

      Tony Vernon at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, led a questionnaire-based study of 219 pairs of twins which probed the genetic and environmental contributions of four traits associated with mental toughness: control over life, commitment, confidence and the ability to face new challenges.

      The analysis found that 52 per cent in the variation of mental toughness was down to genetics (Personality and Individual Differences, DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2008.09.009). It also correlated strongly with extroversion. In contrast, being neurotic or anxious indicated a reduced likelihood of possessing mental toughness.

      "It's about not letting setbacks destroy you," says Peter Clough at the University of Hull, UK, who designed the questionnaire. Clough agrees mental toughness is mostly inherited, but says that natural worriers can deal with anxiety by learning to purge negative thoughts.
      From issue 2680 of New Scientist magazine, 29 October 2008, page 16


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