Term of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Dr. Jessica Mutchler

Committee Member 1

Dr. Brandonn Harris

Committee Member 2

Dr. Chad Asplund


Background: Mental toughness (MT) has been considered necessary for individuals to be successful in the athletic setting. A connection has been theorized between MT and mental health. Purpose: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­The purpose was to investigate if MT could be utilized as a predictor of the presence of depression and/or anxiety symptoms. This study also explored if MT, and depression/anxiety symptoms change over the course of a competitive season. Methods: 43 individuals (19.42 ± 1.26 years) participating in a fall team sport from the same Division I University participated in the study. Data was captured during pre-season, high stakes, and end of season, and included: demographic information, Mental Toughness Index (MTI), Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-Item (GAD-7), and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Data Analysis: Separate linear regressions determined if there was a relationship between pre-season MTI and GAD-7/PHQ-9 scores. Changes in MTI, PHQ-9, and GAD-7 scores were determined using t-tests. Results: A significant, weak inverse relationship was identified between pre-season MTI scores and pre-season GAD-7 (r = -0.315; p = 0.020) and PHQ-9 (r = -0.318; p = 0.019) scores. MTI significantly predicted GAD-7 scores (β = -.315, p = 0.04) and PHQ-9 scores (β = -0.318, p = 0.038). High-stakes PHQ-9 scores were significantly greater (p = 0.026) than pre-season scores. Conclusions: This study supports the use of the MTI as a supplementary screening tool but does not support the replacement of the PHQ-9/GAD-9. It may be appropriate to administer the PHQ-9/GAD-7 during varying time points over the course of a competitive season.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material