Hot Issues of Skills Development

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SKY[Skills and Knowledge for Youth] home Hot Issues of Skills Development Grit in Non-Cognitive Skills: Related Traits and Grit Measurement Methods

Grit in Non-Cognitive Skills: Related Traits and Grit Measurement Methods Yujiro Yamazaki
  • Skills Needed in Labour Market and Issues Related to Skills of Workers

While non-cognitive abilities have received attention in education and human resource development, the ability to persevere has also received attention and research based on the psychological characteristic of “Grit. “Eskreis-Winkler et al. (2016) define grit as the “passion” and “persistence” that people show toward long-term goals despite difficulties, failures, and competing goals. Grit has received widespread attention from corporate organizational management and parenting as an ability that supports goal attainment and academic achievement. The relationship between smartness and goal attainment is not as strong, and “persistence” is essential for goal attainment.

Grit is a trait that supports the pursuit of goals, and other characteristics that support the pursuit of goals have also been listed. In particular, self-control and integrity are two non-cognitive abilities similar to Grit, and each has been reported to be strongly correlated with Grit (Eskreis-Winkler et al. 2016). The relationship between these adjacent traits and Grit has been the subject of much research to date.

Duckworth et al. (2007) showed the difference between Grit and self-control in the United States Military Academy study. The results of their research revealed that Grit was more strongly correlated with dropout among military academy students than self-control. In contrast, self-control was more strongly associated with students’ grades than Grit. This points out that even though the two are similar, Grit and self-control are vital in “situations where patience is tested” and “temptations in daily life,” respectively (Duckworth et al., 2007).

Integrity, another trait similar to Grit, refers to one area of the Big Five, a classification of personality tendencies, as a trait of planning, responsibility, and diligence (Heckman & Kautz 2013). Duckworth et al. (2007) proposed Grit as an explanatory factor specific to high achievement and perseverance in achieving goals, believing that not all people with integrity achieve high results and do not abandon their plans. However, in response to this idea, Crede et al. (2017) criticized the trait of Grit because when they looked at the correlation between Grit and academic performance after controlling for the effect of integrity, they did not find significant results. Therefore, separating Grit from integrity is still being researched, and debate continues the difference between the two.

To measure Grit, Duckworth et al. (2007) explored the attitudinal and behavioral characteristics of high achievers by interviewing a wide range of professionals and examining the components of universal goal pursuit. There are two versions of the Grit scale: a 12-item version (Duckworth et al., 2007) and a shortened version with eight items (Duckworth & Quinn, 2009). 2019) attempted to adapt the 12-item version to Japan, and a Japanese version of the Grit scale was developed.

While the Grit scale has been developed, there is still debate about how to evaluate the scale. Therefore, when used as an evaluation for selection, the Grit may be graded higher than it is. A measure called the Grit Grid has also been developed (Robertson-Kraft & Duckworth, 2014). Respondents are asked to describe the duration and performance of their experiences in completing actual activities. While the Grit Grid is more objective than the self-report of the Grit scale, it is more time-consuming and costly than the Grit scale due to its descriptive nature, and research is currently underway to improve both measures.



  • 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, 492–511.
  • 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, 92, 1087–1101.
  • Duckworth, A. L., & Quinn, P. D. (2009). Development and validation of the Short Grit Scale (GRIT–S). Journal of Personality Assessment, 91, 166–174.
  • Eskreis-Winkler, L., Shulman, E. P., Young, V., Tsukayama, E., Brunwasser, S. M., & Duckworth, A. L. (2016). Using wise interventions to motivate deliberate practice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 111. 728-744.
  • Heckman, J. J., &. Kautz, T. (2013). Fostering and Measuring Skills : Interventions That Improve Character and Cognition. NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH Working Paper, No.19656
  • Robertson-Kraft, C., & Duckworth, A. L. (2014). True grit: Trait-level perseverance and passion for long-term goals predicts effectiveness and retention among novice teachers. Teachers College Record, 116, 1–27.