Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Toughness (Personality trait)--Iowa; College athletes--Iowa--Psychology; Basketball--Iowa--Psychological aspects; College sports--Iowa--Psychological aspects; Basketball--Psychological aspects; College athletes--Psychology; College sports--Psychological aspects; Toughness (Personality trait); Iowa; Academic theses;


Mental toughness has been viewed as a vital attribute and characteristic in the world of athletics since the beginning of sport. Mental Toughness began to gain notoriety in the public forum however, when Vince Lombardi won Super Bowl I in 1967 as the Head Coach of the Green Bay Packers. Coaches and athletes alike often speak of mental toughness and its importance, though in the world of athletics, the challenge has been the overall lack of a sound definition of mental toughness. Until recently, research has been sparse on the topic which has led to confusion and misunderstanding of mental toughness. lf coaches are planning and preparing their programs with a goal of aiding in the development of mental toughness, there must be a clear definition of the term. Coaches and players in the world of college basketball are competing in an ever increasing win at all costs environment. The pressures to succeed are allowing for an increase in willingness to learn about individuals and teams in hopes of reaching maximum potential. This study was aimed at the lack of definition of mental toughness, as well as hopes to gain an understanding of what it takes to teach and coach athlete's to be tougher mentally. Because of the importance of developing mental toughness, this study was created to further advance the ability of coaches and athletes to improve their mental capabilities. First by gaining an understanding of their own mental strengths and weakness and secondly, each player is evaluated based on their statistical performance, which will provide specific insight for coaches to know if the most mentally tough athletes are the most successful. Collegiate basketball players from Division-III National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) were given the MebTough Inventory, which was created in 2008. This inventory effectively measures the mental toughness levels of individuals, and 11 allows for coaches to understand their teams much better. After this inventory in completed, each player is evaluated on their individual performance. Every player that plays significant minutes in a competition will compile statistics relative only to the game of basketball. The players are measured on their ability to contribute. This evaluation is completed by measuring game statistics in a statistical measurement tool that is known as the Player Efficiency Rating (P.E.R) statistical system. The design and scope of this study is aimed to continue in the evolution of mental toughness and continue to provide insight into the definition of mental toughness. The results of the research indicate there is a direct relation between those who are successful based on statistics and their level of mental toughness based on the Meb Tough. The findings provide for better insight, and provide support for more research and understanding of mental toughness in sport.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Mick Mack

Second Advisor

Ripley Marston

Third Advisor

Fabio Fontana


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Date Original


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