Vakgroep Psychologie, Gezondheid & Technologie

Title: Grit - Investigating the power of passion and perseverance

Additional Information:

Type of Assignment (Ba / Ma?): MA and BA

In– of extern?: Internal                                                                                           

How many students can be accommodated?: 4                                    

Collecting own data:  Yes

Type of Design (Qual / Quant / Theoretical): Quantitative      

EC: 10 and 30 ECs      

Assignment description:

What makes people perform? Why are some people so successful despite having the proverbial odds stacked against them? What drives individuals to push through even the most difficult situations and still get out on the proverbial top? These are questions psychological researchers have been concerned with for more than a century. Although various cognitive (e.g. intelligence), behavioral (e.g. competence), affective (e.g. emotional intelligence) and psychological (e.g. person-environment fit) factors have been identified which are associated with performance, researchers are still in disagreement as to which factor is ‘the most important’.

Duckworth et al (2007) theorized that psychological factors are more important in understanding performance and for the actualizing one’s potential; even more so than intelligence or competence. Specifically, she indicated that working persistently towards challenges, whilst being able to maintain effort and interest over time regardless of failure or adversity, results, leads to success or the actualization of one’s true potential. The long term passion for the tasks one engage in and the perseverance to push through even difficult challenges is called ‘Grit’ (Duckworth et al., 2007).  Grit is a combination of two well-studied drivers of achievement: passion and perseverance (Duckworth, & Quinn, 2009; Robertson-Kraft, & Duckworth, 2014), also known as “perseverance of effort” and “consistency of interest” (Credé, Tynan, & Harms, 2016). These two facets contribute to success: persistence due to the fact that the process of achieving mastery in a field often entails preliminary failures and the individual needs to persist through this difficult time, and consistency because numerous amounts of time spent on deliberate practice are usually vital to achieving mastery (Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesh-Römer, 1993).  Individuals who possess high levels of grit do not deviate from their goals, even in the absence of positive feedback. (Duckworth & Gross, 2014). Grit is therefore a powerful psychological tool which individuals can employee to aid them in achieving greatness.  

Despite its relative importance, relatively little is known about its antecedents and consequences. The purpose of this assignment is therefore to investigate the various attributing factors and potential outcomes of Grit within the European Union. Specifically, we would like to investigate the following research questions:

  1. Is the Duckworth Grit-O Scale a valid and reliable measure to assess Grit within the European Context?
  2. What are the potential antecedents and consequences of Grit?
  3. To what extent does grit affect individual performance?
  4. To what extent does grit, as a personal resource, impact the relationship between various individual, group and organizational outcomes?

What are we looking for?

We are looking for self-motivated, and highly passionate individuals with a specific interest in positive psychology.  We are looking for individuals with a strong interest in advanced research methods and quantitative research. Students will need to be able to write their thesis in English.  

Study leaders:

Dr. L van Zyl