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Due to demand for high performance inside and outside of the classroom, student-athletes are a unique subsection of college students. Researchers have focused on investigating protective factors, which may enhance student-athlete well-being and academic success in higher education and reduce athlete burnout. The current study examined grit as a mediator between parenting behaviors and academic success, mental health outcomes, and burnout in higher education among National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I and Division II student-athletes (N =202). Overparenting behaviors were negatively associated with psychological autonomy granting, mental health outcomes, and athlete burnout. Psychological autonomy granting behaviors were positively associated with grit and negatively associated with mental health outcomes and athlete burnout. Student-athlete grit mediated the relationship between overparenting behaviors and mental health outcomes. Clinical implications include improving student-athlete parent onboarding protocol; student-athlete psychoeducation; and preventative outreach and health promotion among athletes, athletic staff, and university practitioners. In summary, these findings suggest that parenting behaviors and grit are factors that require more attention in fostering student-athlete success.
Howard is with the School of Psychology, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, USA. Nicholson, Madson, Mohn, and Bullock-Yowell are with The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, USA.