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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Kinesiology

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2012

Month Degree Awarded

February

Keywords

mental toughness, physical activity, youth, questionnaire development

Abstract

The obesity epidemic in youth is increasing, due to the decreasing levels of physical activity within the youth population. One variable that has never been examined as a correlate of physical activity is mental toughness. Mental toughness is a psychological trait characterized by determination, resiliency, and perform optimally regardless of the circumstances. In order to evaluate this trait the MeBActive-Youth was developed. The purpose of this study was to first, evaluate the psychometric properties of the newly developed measure and secondly, to assess the relationship of mental toughness, social support and self-efficacy to physical activity. Participants (N = 106) completed a demographic survey, the MeBActive-Youth, Social Support and Exercise Survey (SSES), Physical Activity Self-Efficacy Scale (PASES), and Physical Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents (PAQ-A). The Rasch Rating Scale Model showed that the MeBActive-Youth had appropriate items (range of 0.53 – -0.64 logits) for the sample and measured mental toughness appropriately. All but four of the items had a fit statistic within the acceptable range, but only one item had a much higher statistic (infit = 1.68 logits). Although the four response options were all utilized appropriately, it may be beneficial to reduce them to three. There was a significant positive correlation between MeBActive-Youth and physical activity (ρ = .52, p ≤ .01) and PASES (ρ = .30, p ≤ .01). The correlation between social support from friends and family and MeBActive-Youth was not significant (ρ = .12, p ≥ .05; ρ = .17, p ≥ .05). There was a positive significant correlation between, physical activity and familial and friend social support (ρ = .47, p ≤ .01; ρ = .27 p ≤ .05), PASES (ρ = .34, p ≤ .01) and mental toughness. The MeBActive-Youth is a valid and reliable instrument yet can be improved with slight changes. This study showed that there is a strong positive correlation between mental toughness, self-efficacy and physical activity. Positive correlations were also found between physical activity and all the measured variables.

First Advisor

Erin M Snook

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