What is GRIT and how does it relate to patient recovery?

December 14, 2020


What is the GRIT Scale?

What if there was a way to better predict which patients will have greater outcomes or a quicker recovery after surgery? Angela Duckworth believes this is possible by measuring a person’s level of GRIT. 

Angela Duckworth defines the term “GRIT” as passion and perseverance for long-term goals (Duckworth, 2020). According to Duckworth, GRIT is about having a goal you care about so much that it organizes and gives meaning to almost everything you do. It is believed that GRIT can help predict who will stick with and accomplish their long-term goals. Duckworth and her team created the GRIT Scale which can be administered in 8 or 12 questions. The GRIT scale is used in different ways, such as by recruiters to learn more about their potential hires, colleges and universities to help their students succeed, and even in healthcare. In this blog, we will further explore GRIT as it relates to patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in healthcare.

How is GRIT related to PROs and how is GRIT scored?

To help determine a patient’s GRIT level the GRIT Scale can be administered as a patient-reported outcomes assessment. In one study, patients took a GRIT scale before they consulted with their provider. Later researchers reviewed the patient’s GRIT score against their medical improvements and found that the higher the patient’s GRIT score, the greater adherence they had to their medical plan (Peña et al., 2019). 

Each question on the GRIT scale is provided a value from 1 to 5. To find the total GRIT score add the responses to all questions and divide by the number of questions on the assessment (8 or 12). The maximum possible score is 5 (extremely gritty) while the minimum score is 1 (not at all gritty) (Duckworth, 2020).


There are multiple benefits to measuring GRIT using the GRIT scale as a patient-reported outcome. First, the GRIT scale is free to use and administer. Additionally, on average it takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Further, there has been research showing that a person’s GRIT score can help predict who will accomplish challenging goals. In other words, using the GRIT scale as a patient-reported outcome can help predict which patients will recover quicker and have successful outcomes. 


Before implementing the GRIT scale as a patient-reported outcome, there are considerations to keep in mind. Since the GRIT scale is self-reported and completed by the patient, there is room for bias and could lead to skewed answers. Additionally, researchers have found that if a person has too high of a GRIT level, this can lead to negative effects as it could lead patients to wait longer to seek help if their outcomes are not progressing as they should (Crede). The final consideration to be aware of is that GRIT is not the only predictor of a good surgical outcome.


Overall using the GRIT scale as a patient-reported outcome can help to predict which patients will have successful surgical outcomes and stronger adherence to their recovery plan. As with any patient-reported outcome, there are considerations to review before implementing, however overall the GRIT scale is a promising supplemental patient-reported outcome. To learn more about GRIT or to find a copy of the GRIT assessment, visit Angela Duckworth’s website.


Crede, M. (n.d.). Much Ado about GRIT is a meta-analytic synthesis of the GRIT literature. Retrieved September 10, 2020, from https://www.academia.edu/25397556/

Duckworth, A. (2020). Research. Retrieved September 10, 2020, from https://angeladuckworth.com/research/

Education and Labor, R. (2020). GRIT Scale. Retrieved September 10, 2020, fromhttps://www.rand.org/education-and-labor/projects/assessments/tool/2007/grit-scale.html

Peña, P., Pérez-Díaz, I., Pulido-Ayala, A., Osorio-Landa, H., López-Navarro, J., Duckworth, A., & Jena, A. (2019, September 4). Association of the GRIT scores with the treatment adherence and biomarkers in patients with Type 2 diabetes. Retrieved September 10, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6745048/

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