Jan 28, 2021
Episode 021 - Is GRIT the only way to measure your goals and achievements?
Play • 28 min

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Some of the research discussed in this podcast as follows

Duckworth, A. L.,  Peterson, C.,  Matthews, M. D.,  & Kelly, D. R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long Term Goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 92, No 6, 1087-1101.

Eskries-Winkler, L., Duckwork, A. L., Shulman, E. P., & Beal, S. (2014). The grit effect: Predicting retention in the military, the workplace, school and marriage. Frontiers in Psychology, 1-30.

Von Culin, K. R., Tsukayma, E., & Duckworth, A. L. (2014). Unpacking grit: Motivational correlates of perseverance and passion for long term goals. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 9:4, 306-312.

Zissman, C., & Ganzach, Y. (2020). In a representative sample grit has a negligible effect on educational and economic success compared to intelligence. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1-8.

Credé, M., Tynan, M. C., & Harms, P. D. (2017). Much ado about grit: A meta-analytic synthesis of the grit literature. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 113(3), 492–511.

What can I use the Grit Scale for?

I created the Grit Scale so that I could study grit as a scientist.  Why? Because you cannot study what you cannot measure.

I also think this questionnaire is useful as a prompt for self-reflection. For example, some of the most effective coaches and teachers I know give this questionnaire to their players and students in order to prompt a conversation about their evolving passion and perseverance.

However, I hasten to point out that all psychological measures, including the Grit Scale, have limitations. You can fake a higher grit score without much effort, for example. Another very serious but not-so-obvious limitation of questionnaires is called “reference bias.” This distortion of scores comes from people holding different standards by which they judge behavior. So, your score not only reflects how gritty you are but also the standards to which you hold yourself. I talk about this limitation, among others, in this article on measurement which I co-authored with my friend and colleague David Yeager.

In sum, I think the Grit Scale can be used for research and for self-reflection, but its limitations make it inappropriate for many other uses, including selecting employees, admitting students to college, gauging the performance of teachers, or comparing schools or countries to each other.

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