Relationships between mental toughness, physical activity and barriers to exercise in undergraduate students

Stamp, Elizabeth and Crust, Lee and Swann, Christian (2015) Relationships between mental toughness, physical activity and barriers to exercise in undergraduate students. In: British Psychological Society Department of Sport and Exercise Science Conference, 14 - 15 December 2015, Leeds.

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Abstract

Objectives: Attending university can negatively impact students’ physical activity (PA). Identifying psychological correlates of students’ exercise barriers could enhance their PA, through appropriate interventions. Mental toughness (MT) has recently been explored in relation to PA. MT is associated with commitment, life control, and coping, which would be expected to benefit healthy behaviour adoption and maintenance whilst encountering the challenges associated with university. This study aimed to explore the relationship between MT, PA, and exercise barriers. It was hypothesised MT would mitigate students' barriers to exercise and increase PA.

Design: A cross-sectional design was implemented to allow comparisons between multiple variables.

Methods: 168 undergraduate students (44 males; 124 females), aged 20.82±3.4 years, completed online questionnaires assessing MT, PA, and exercise barriers. Data analysis included bivariate correlations and multiple linear regression between MT and all measured variables.

Results: In total, 44% of this sample failed to participate in regular PA, and 31% reported a decrease in PA since starting university. MT was significantly correlated with vigorous PA (r=.20, p<0.05), and displayed significant correlations with exercise barriers (range: r=-.19 to r=-.35, p<0.05). MT predicted up to 18% of variance in exercise barriers.

Conclusions: MT increased PA, and decreased exercise barriers in this sample. MT assessment could be used as a screening device to identify students with a lower MT who are at risk of following an inactive lifestyle. Recommendations to overcome barriers and enhance students' adherence to PA, targeting relevant aspects of MT, are provided.

Keywords:Barriers to exercise, Exercise, Mental Toughness, University students, bmjconvert
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
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ID Code:20095
Deposited On:23 Jan 2016 17:38

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