Date of Award

Summer 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Bonnie Nicholson

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Michael Madson

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Emily Yowell

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Richard Mohn

Committee Member 4 School



Factors such as poor adjustment, substance misuse, and mental health concerns have been found to be detrimental to college student success. Considering this, researchers have focused on investigating protective factors, which may enhance performance in higher education. Specifically, non-cognitive traits, such as grit, or an ability to maintain determination and passion for long-term goals in the face of adversity, and positive parenting strategies, such as psychological autonomy granting, have been tied to positive outcomes for college students in higher education. Conversely, overparenting behaviors and negative outcomes, such as burnout, have been found to be damaging to student success. Student-athletes are a unique subsection of the college student population due to increased demand to perform both inside and outside of the classroom. Little is known about the extent to which grit and positive parenting will impact burnout, mental health, and academic success for this population. Therefore, the current study tested the following hypotheses: 1) Psychological autonomy granting will be a positive predictor of grit and academic success and also, a negative predictor of mental health outcomes and athlete burnout; 2) Overparenting will be a negative predictor of grit and academic success, as well as positive predictor of athlete burnout and mental health outcomes; 3) Grit will moderate the relationship between overparenting and outcomes of success; and 4) Grit will mediate the relationship between psychological autonomy granting behaviors and measures of success in college. Results of the current study indicated that student-athlete grit is positively associated with academic success, and negatively associated with athlete burnout and mental health outcomes. Further, grit was identified as a mediating factor between overparenting behaviors and mental health outcomes among college student-athletes in the sample but did not moderate this relationship. Implications related to parenting student-athletes and grit development among college student-athletes are discussed.