Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Kinesiology and Recreation

First Advisor

Scott Pierce


Mental toughness can be defined as a psychological skill encompassing an individual’s ability to overcome adversity while still achieving high levels of performance and functioning. Sport is commonly referred to as a domain that helps to develop an athlete’s life skills, including mental toughness. The benefits of mental toughness stretch across multiple domains, making the ability to transfer mental toughness from one domain to another, advantageous. Transferring life skills is a multi-dimensional process involving an individual’s interaction with their environment and the degree to which they internalize the life skills but there is little evidence to explain if and how life skills transfer actually occurs (Pierce et al., 2017). The Self-Determination Theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2000) provides a theoretical framework for examining the relationship between the internalization of mental toughness and an individual’s ability to transfer this skill to other domains. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between the satisfaction of the basic needs of competence, relatedness and autonomy and the transfer of mental toughness as a life skill. METHODS: 307 collegiate student-athletes were distributed measures to assess their mental toughness, basic needs satisfaction and the degree to which they transferred mental toughness to other domains. RESULTS: Satisfaction of the basic needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness have a significant positive relationship with mental toughness transfer as a life skill. Furthermore, need satisfaction of autonomy significantly predicts mental toughness transfer as a life skill. CONCLUSION: For students self-reporting as mentally tough, mental toughness can be transferred as a life skill.


Imported from ProQuest Scott_ilstu_0092N_11206.pdf


Page Count


Included in

Psychology Commons