Grit (effortful persistence) can be measured with a short scale, shows little variation across socio-demographic subgroups, and is associated with career success and career engagement

Autoři: Clemens M. Lechner aff001;  Daniel Danner aff002;  Beatrice Rammstedt aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Survey Design and Methodology, GESIS–Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim, Germany aff001;  University of Applied Labour Studies, Mannheim, Germany aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224814


Grit (effortful persistence) has received considerable attention as a personality trait relevant for success and performance. However, critics have questioned grit’s construct validity and criterion validity. Here we report on two studies that contribute to the debate surrounding the grit construct. Study 1 (N = 6,230) examined the psychometric properties of a five-item grit scale, covering mainly the perseverance facet, in a large and representative sample of German adults. Moreover, it investigated the distribution of grit across sociodemographic subgroups (age groups, genders, educational strata, employment statuses). Multiple-group measurement models demonstrated that grit showed full metric, but only partial scalar, invariance across all sociodemographic subgroups. Sociodemographic differences in the levels of grit emerged for age, education, and employment status but were generally small. Study 2 investigated how grit relates to career success (income, job prestige, job satisfaction) and career engagement (working overtime, participation in continuing professional development courses, attitudes toward lifelong learning) in an employed subsample (n = 2,246). When modeled as a first-order factor, grit was incrementally associated with all indicators of career success and especially of career engagement (.08 ≤ β ≤ .75)—over and above cognitive ability and sociodemographic characteristics. When modeled as a residual facet of conscientiousness, grit largely retained its criterion validity for success but only partly for engagement (–.14 ≤ β ≤ .61). Our findings offer qualified support for the psychometric quality of the short grit scale and suggest that grit may provide some added value in predicting career outcomes. We critically discuss these findings while highlighting that grit hardly differs from established facets of conscientiousness such as industriousness/perseverance.

Klíčová slova:

Careers – Cognition – Educational attainment – Employment – Jobs – Labor studies – Learning


1. Eskreis-Winkler L, Shulman EP, Beal SA, Duckworth AL. The grit effect: Predicting retention in the military, the workplace, school and marriage. Front Psychol. 2014;5. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00036 24550863

2. Von Culin KR, Tsukayama E, Duckworth AL. Unpacking grit: Motivational correlates of perseverance and passion for long-term goals. J Posit Psychol. 2014;9: 306–312. doi: 10.1080/17439760.2014.898320 31404261

3. Abuhassàn A, Bates TC. Grit: Distinguishing effortful persistence from conscientiousness. J Individ Differ. 2015;36: 205–214. doi: 10.1027/1614-0001/a000175

4. Tucker-Drob EM, Briley DA, Engelhardt LE, Mann FD, Harden KP. Genetically-mediated associations between measures of childhood character and academic achievement. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2016;111: 790–815. doi: 10.1037/pspp0000098 27337136

5. Duckworth AL, Peterson C, Matthews MD, Kelly DR. Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2007;92: 1087–1101. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.92.6.1087 17547490

6. Credé M. What shall we do about grit? A critical review of what we know and what we don’t know. Educ Res. 2018;47: 606–611. doi: 10.3102/0013189X18801322

7. Engber D. Is “grit” really the key to success? Slate. 8 May 2016. Available: Accessed 25 Sep 2017.

8. Duckworth AL. Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. New York, NY: Scribner; 2016.

9. Alan S, Boneva T, Ertac S. Ever failed, try again, succeed better: Results from a randomized educational intervention on grit [Internet]. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network; 2016 Mar. Report No.: ID 2761390. Available:

10. Arias O, Munoz Boudet AM, Krekel C, Santos I, Carneiro P, Duckworth AL, et al. Can grit be taught? Learning from a field experiment with middle school students in FYR Macedonia. [Internet]. AEA RCT Registry; 2017. Available:

11. Credé M, Tynan MC, Harms PD. Much ado about grit: A meta-analytic synthesis of the grit literature. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2017;113: 492–511. doi: 10.1037/pspp0000102 27845531

12. Roberts BW, Lejuez C, Krueger RF, Richards JM, Hill PL. What is conscientiousness and how can it be assessed? Dev Psychol. 2014;50: 1315. doi: 10.1037/a0031109 23276130

13. Ion A, Mindu A, Gorbănescu A. Grit in the workplace: Hype or ripe? Personal Individ Differ. 2017;111: 163–168. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2017.02.012

14. Suzuki Y, Tamesue D, Asahi K, Ishikawa Y. Grit and work engagement: A cross-sectional study. PLoS ONE. 2015;10. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137501 26335001

15. Millsap RE, Olivera-Aguilar M. Investigating measurement invariance using confirmatory factor analysis. In: Hoyle RH, editor. Handbook of structural equation modeling. New York, NY: Guilford Press; 2012. pp. 380–392.

16. Duckworth AL, Quinn PD. Development and validation of the short grit scale (Grit–S). J Pers Assess. 2009;91: 166–174. doi: 10.1080/00223890802634290 19205937

17. Mõttus R. Towards more rigorous personality trait–outcome research. Eur J Personal. 2016;30: 292–303. doi: 10.1002/per.2041

18. Roberts BW, Kuncel NR, Shiner R, Caspi A, Goldberg LR. The power of personality: The comparative validity of personality traits, socioeconomic status, and cognitive ability for predicting important life outcomes. Perspect Psychol Sci. 2007;2: 313–345. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6916.2007.00047.x 26151971

19. Kautz T, Heckman JJ, Diris R, Ter Weel B, Borghans L. Fostering and measuring skills: Improving cognitive and non-cognitive skills to promote lifetime success [Internet]. National Bureau of Economic Research; 2014. Available:

20. Nisbett RE, Aronson J, Blair C, Dickens W, Flynn J, Halpern DF, et al. Intelligence: New findings and theoretical developments. Am Psychol. 2012;67: 130–159. doi: 10.1037/a0026699 22233090

21. Plomin R, Deary IJ. Genetics and intelligence differences: Five special findings. Mol Psychiatry. 2015;20: 98–108. doi: 10.1038/mp.2014.105 25224258

22. Duckworth AL. Grit: The power of passion and perseverance [Internet]. 2013. Available:

23. Danner D, Lechner CM, Rammstedt B. A cross-national perspective on the associations of grit with career success. Comp J Comp Int Educ. 2019; 1–17. doi: 10.1080/03057925.2019.1617110

24. Schmidt FTC, Fleckenstein J, Retelsdorf J, Eskreis-Winkler L, Möller J. Measuring grit: A German validation and a domain-specific approach to grit. Eur J Psychol Assess. 2017; 1–12. doi: 10.1027/1015-5759/a000407

25. Cunha F, Heckman J. The technology of skill formation. Am Econ Rev. 2007;97: 31–47. doi: 10.1257/aer.97.2.31

26. Robertson-Kraft C, Duckworth AL. True grit: Trait-level perseverance and passion for long-term goals predicts effectiveness and retention among novice teachers. Teach Coll Rec 1970. 2014;116. Available:

27. Mueller BA, Wolfe MT, Syed I. Passion and grit: An exploration of the pathways leading to venture success. J Bus Ventur. 2017;32: 260–279. doi: 10.1016/j.jbusvent.2017.02.001

28. Mooradian T, Matzler K, Uzelac B, Bauer F. Perspiration and inspiration: Grit and innovativeness as antecedents of entrepreneurial success. J Econ Psychol. 2016;56: 232–243. doi: 10.1016/j.joep.2016.08.001

29. Duckworth AL, Gross JJ. Self-control and grit: Related but separable determinants of success. Curr Dir Psychol Sci. 2014;23: 319–325. doi: 10.1177/0963721414541462 26855479

30. Rimfeld K, Kovas Y, Dale PS, Plomin R. True grit and genetics: Predicting academic achievement from personality. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2016;111: 780–789. doi: 10.1037/pspp0000089 26867111

31. MacCann C, Duckworth AL, Roberts RD. Empirical identification of the major facets of conscientiousness. Learn Individ Differ. 2009;19: 451–458. doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2009.03.007

32. Costa PT, MacCrae RR. Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R) and NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI): Professional manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources; 1992.

33. Soto CJ, John OP. The next Big Five Inventory (BFI-2): Developing and assessing a hierarchical model with 15 facets to enhance bandwidth, fidelity, and predictive power. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2017;113: 117–143. doi: 10.1037/pspp0000096 27055049

34. Roberts BW, Chernyshenko OS, Stark S, Goldberg LR. The structure of conscientiousness: An empirical investigation based on seven major personality questionnaires. Pers Psychol. 2005;58: 103–139. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6570.2005.00301.x

35. Westfall J, Yarkoni T. Statistically controlling for confounding constructs is harder than you think. Tran US, editor. PLoS ONE. 2016;11: e0152719. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152719 27031707

36. Rammstedt B, Martin S, Zabal A, Carstensen C, Schupp J. The PIAAC longitudinal study in Germany: Rationale and design. Large-Scale Assess Educ. 2017;5: 1–11. doi: 10.1186/s40536-017-0040-z

37. Zabal A, Martin S, Rammstedt B. PIAAC-L data collection 2014: Technical report; fololow-up to PIAAC Germany 2012. 2016; Available:

38. Braun M, Müller W. Measurement of education in comparative research. Comp Soc Res. 1997;16: 163–201.

39. Allmendinger J. Educational systems and labor market outcomes. Eur Sociol Rev. 1989;5: 231–250. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.esr.a036524

40. Rhemtulla M, Brosseau-Liard PÉ, Savalei V. When can categorical variables be treated as continuous? A comparison of robust continuous and categorical SEM estimation methods under suboptimal conditions. Psychol Methods. 2012;17: 354–373. doi: 10.1037/a0029315 22799625

41. Graham JW. Missing data analysis: Making it work in the real world. Annu Rev Psychol. 2009;60: 549–576. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.58.110405.085530 18652544

42. Kline RB. Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Guilford Press; 2011.

43. Marsh HW, Hau K-T, Grayson D. Goodness of fit in structural equation models. In: Maydeu-Olivares A, McArdle JJ, editors. Contemporary psychometrics: A festschrift for Roderick P McDonald. Mahwah, NJ, US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers; 2005. pp. 275–340.

44. Fornell C, Larcker DF. Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. J Mark Res. 1981;18: 39–50. doi: 10.2307/3151312

45. Zinbarg RE, Revelle W, Yovel I, Li W. Cronbach’s α, Revelle’s β, and McDonald’s ωH: Their relations with each other and two alternative conceptualizations of reliability. psychometrika. 2005;70: 123–133. doi: 10.1007/s11336-003-0974-7

46. Chen FF. Sensitivity of goodness of fit indexes to lack of measurement invariance. Struct Equ Model. 2007;14: 464–504. doi: 10.1080/10705510701301834

47. Eid M, Geiser C, Koch T, Heene M. Anomalous results in G-factor models: Explanations and alternatives. Psychol Methods. 2017;22: 541–562. doi: 10.1037/met0000083 27732052

48. Ng TWH, Eby LT, Sorensen KL, Feldman DC. Predictors of objective and subjective career success: A meta-analysis. Pers Psychol. 2005;58: 367–408. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6570.2005.00515.x

49. Bartsch S, Poschmann K, Burkhardt L. Weighting in PIAAC-L 2014. GESIS Pap. 2017;6. Available:

50. Ganzeboom HBG, Treiman DJ. Three internationally standardised measures for comparative research on occupational status. In: Hoffmeyer-Zlotnik JHP, Wolf C, editors. Advances in cross-national comparison A European working book for demographic and socio-economic variables. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers; 2003. pp. 159–173.

51. Schupp J, Gerlitz J-Y. Big Five Inventory-SOEP (BFI-S). Zusammenstellung sozialwissenschaftlicher Items und Skalen (ZIS). 2014. doi: 10.6102/zis54

52. OECD. Literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments. Paris: OECD Publishing; 2012.

53. OECD. OECD Skills Outlook 2013 [Internet]. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; 2013. Available:

54. Zabal A, Martin S, Massing N, Ackermann D, Helmschrott S, Barkow I, et al. PIAAC Germany 2012: Technical report [Internet]. Waxmann; 2014. Available:

55. Von Davier M, Gonzalez E, Mislevy R. What are plausible values and why are they useful. IERI Monogr Ser. 2009;2: 9–36.

56. Wu M. The role of plausible values in large-scale surveys. Stud Educ Eval. 2005;31: 114–128.

57. McGrew KS. CHC theory and the human cognitive abilities project: Standing on the shoulders of the giants of psychometric intelligence research. Intelligence. 2009;37: 1–10. doi: 10.1016/j.intell.2008.08.004

58. Eid M, Geiser C, Koch T, Heene M. Anomalous results in G-factor models: Explanations and alternatives. Psychol Methods. 2017;22: 541–562. doi: 10.1037/met0000083 27732052

59. Brunner M, Nagy G, Wilhelm O. A tutorial on hierarchically structured constructs. J Pers. 2012;80: 796–846. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2011.00749.x 22091867

60. Rammstedt B, Danner D, Lechner CM. Personality, competencies, and life outcomes: Results from the German PIAAC longitudinal study. Large-Scale Assess Educ. 2017;5: 1–19. doi: 10.1186/s40536-017-0035-9

61. Lechner CM, Danner D, Rammstedt B. How is personality related to intelligence and achievement? A replication and extension of Borghans et al. and Salkever. Personal Individ Differ. 2017;111: 86–91. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2017.01.040

62. Heckhausen J, Wrosch C, Schulz R. A motivational theory of life-span development. Psychol Rev. 2010;117: 32–60. doi: 10.1037/a0017668 20063963

63. Duckworth AL, Kirby TA, Tsukayama E, Berstein H, Ericsson KA. Deliberate practice spells success: Why grittier competitors triumph at the National Spelling Bee. Soc Psychol Personal Sci. 2011;2: 174–181. doi: 10.1177/1948550610385872

64. Conti G, Heckman JJ. Understanding conscientiousness across the lifecourse: An economic perspective. Dev Psychol. 2014;50: 1451–1459. doi: 10.1037/a0036426 24773106

65. Gutman LM, Schoon I. A synthesis of causal evidence linking non-cognitive skills to later outcomes for children and adolescents. In: Khine MS, Areepattamannil S, editors. Non-cognitive skills and factors in educational attainment. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers; 2016. pp. 171–198.

66. Thalmayer AG, Saucier G, Eigenhuis A. Comparative validity of brief to medium-length Big Five and Big Six personality questionnaires. Psychol Assess. 2011;23: 995–1009. doi: 10.1037/a0024165 21859221

67. Credé M, Harms P, Niehorster S, Gaye-Valentine A. An evaluation of the consequences of using short measures of the Big Five personality traits. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2012;102: 874–888. doi: 10.1037/a0027403 22352328

68. Smith PB, Vignoles VL, Becker M, Owe E, Easterbrook MJ, Brown R, et al. Individual and culture-level components of survey response styles: A multi-level analysis using cultural models of selfhood: RESPONSE STYLES AND SELF-CONSTRUALS. Int J Psychol. 2016;51: 453–463. doi: 10.1002/ijop.12293 27374874

69. Lechner CM, Partsch MV, Danner D, Rammstedt B. Individual, situational, and cultural correlates of acquiescent responding: Towards a unified conceptual framework. Br J Math Stat Psychol. 0. doi: 10.1111/bmsp.12164 30851072

Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 11