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

Stamp, Elizabeth; Crust, Lee; Swann, Christian F.; Perry, John


Elizabeth Stamp

Lee Crust

Christian F. Swann

John Perry


The present study explored relationships between mental toughness (MT), barriers to exercise, and self-reported exercise behaviour in university students. Perceived barriers to exercise are important since previous work has identified barriers as strong predictors of exercise behaviour. MT was hypothesised to predict exercise barriers and self-reported exercise behaviour. Participants were 173 undergraduate students (45 men, 128 women) from 10 United Kingdom universities. Questionnaires were used to assess MT, exercise levels, and exercise barriers. Path analysis identified that MT predicted barriers to exercise, with higher MT associated with weaker perceived barriers. Regular exercisers were found to have significantly higher MT than non-regular exercisers, with commitment identified as a key difference. These findings support the proposed hypotheses and provide further evidence of the importance of MT in exercise / physical activity contexts. Future research that adopts longitudinal designs and tests targeted interventions to reduce perceptions of barriers and enhance exercise participation are encouraged.


Stamp, E., Crust, L., Swann, C. F., & Perry, J. (2017). Relationships between mental toughness, barriers to exercise, and exercise behaviour in undergraduate students. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 48(3), 262-277

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 14, 2016
Publication Date Aug 23, 2017
Deposit Date Jan 3, 2017
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal International journal of sport psychology
Print ISSN 0047-0767
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Issue 3
Pages 262-277
Keywords Exercise, Exercise barriers, Higher education, Individual differences, Physical activities
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article published in: International journal of sport psychology, 2017, v.48, issue 3


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