The concept "grit" has been made popular by the psychologist Angela Duckworth. It refers to "perseverance and passion for long-term goals" (Duckworth and Quinn (2009).

Read interview with Angela Duckworth about her journey of developing the idea of grit. Click her to read it

In 2007, Duckworth and colleagues published a 12-item scale and in 2009 a shorted 8-item scale which we use here (Duckworth and Quinn, 2009).

Duckworth and colleages conclude that there are two compenents (subscales) to grid: 1) a consistency of interest and 2) perseverance of effort. The Grit-S scale can calculate the total Grit-S score as well as these two subscales.

Grit has been become very popular among the general public. There are many webpages for the general public about the topic and lots of YouTubes (click here to get a YouTube list). It is an appealing concept, in part because it is easy to measure with the Grit-S scale and apparently predictive of career success.

Li’s 2015 master thesis is an excellent piece of reading to understand the subscales underlying grid (free link in references section).


Among personality psychologists, there is a considerable discussion about whether the concept of grit is a worthwhile addition or mostly hype (that is, unjustified excitement). Various articles have shown that grit is not a good predictor.

In fact, Credé argues that the total Grit-S score is not useful as a measure of perseverance, read more here on the PNAS website: LINK

Hypes in psychological research are not uncommon. A similar hype has been discussed around some other psychological concepts, such as the IAT or stereotype threat.

A few examples of critical findings:

This article (also freely available on the British Psychological Society website) suggest that Grit does not add anything to the existing useful concepts. Read here.

Of course, there is a lot more. Ultimately, if you are a student, when using the Grit-S, you should discuss the pros and cons of the concept in your research article/thesis/report. That way, you likely get extra points for reading around the subject.

What to believe about grit or the criticism?

In science (including psychology), there are always debates, especially about new constructs and concepts. That is part of a healthy scientific developement and improvement of constructs. Further, individual researchers will have invested in their research (true for all sides) and they will unlikely easily give up what they have claimed.

What is interesting, though, is how popular the grit concept is with the general public and with human resources companies. That does not make it any more true or reliable — there are lots of things the majority of people do or believe that are actually not true or unprovable.

PsyToolkit has no stake in this debate, it just provides you with the scale. Use it if you want, or not. At the very least, it is worth learning about the debate around it.

Interpreting scores

Population averages reported in the Duckworth and Quinn article (2009) are reported in their Table 3, which is reproduced here partially:

Group Grit-S Consistency of interest Perseverance of effort

Age 25-34




Age 35-44




Age 45-54




Age 55-64




Age 65+




Total sample




Scores can vary from 1 point (low grit) to maximally 5 points (high grit). As you can see in the table above, the adult population average is around 3.4 points. There are two subscales, 2.9 for Consistency of interest and 3.7 for Perseverance of effort.

When you want to compare yourself to the population average, please look your age range and the average score.

Note that in the tested sample, around 80% were women.

Run the demo

It seems that the short grit scale (Grit-S) can be used for research, but you need to acknowledge the authors and their research paper when writing about it (Duckworth and Quinn, 2009).


This is a simple scale question with some reverse coded items.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: grit
- Very much like me
- Mostly like me
- Somewhat like me
- Not much like me
- Not like me at all

l: grits
t: scale grit
o: boxes
q: Please respond to the following 8 items. Be honest. There are no right or wrong answers!
- New ideas and projects sometimes distract me from previous ones.
- {reverse} Setbacks don’t discourage me.
- I have been obsessed with a certain idea or project for a short time but later lost interest.
- {reverse} I am a hard worker.
- I often set a goal but later choose to pursue a different one.
- I have difficulty maintaining my focus on projects that take more than a few months to complete.
- {reverse} I finish whatever I begin.
- {reverse} I am diligent.

l: gritscore
t: set
- mean $grits

l: grit_consistency_interest
t: set
- calc ( $grits.1 + $grits.3 + $grits.5 + $grits.6 ) / 4

l: grit_perseverance_effort
t: set
- calc ( $grits.2 + $grits.4 + $grits.7 + $grits.8 ) / 4

l: gritfeedback
t: info
q: The GRIT-S score can vary between 1 and 5.
The lowest score on the GRIT-S score is 1 point, which means <i>not at all gritty</i>.
The maximum score on this scale is 5 points, which means <i>extremely gritty</i>.
<b>Your total GRIT-S score is {$gritscore} points.</b><BR>
The GRIT-S scale has two subscales (also ranging between 1 and 5).
Your scores there are:
Consistency of interest subscale: {$grit_consistency_interest}
Perseverance of effort subscale: {$grit_perseverance_effort}


  • 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, 9, 1087-1101. Free download via Research Gate

  • Duckworth, A.L, & Quinn, P.D. (2009). Development and validation of the Short Grit Scale (Grit- S). Journal of Personality Assessment, 91, 166-174. Download free PDF

Critical references

  • 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. Free link

  • Rimfeld, K., Kovas, Y., Dale, P. S., & Plomin, R. (2016). True grit and genetics: Predicting academic achievement from personality. Journal of personality and social psychology, 111(5), 780–789. Free link

  • Li, C. (2015). The short grit scale: A dimensionality analysis. Theses and Dissertations-- Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology. 33. Free link