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Invited Commentary
June 30, 2021

Grit Among US Surgical Residents—Food for Thought

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Clinical Education Editor, JAMA Surgery
JAMA Surg. 2021;156(9):864. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2021.2379

Over the last decade, the description, associations, and conceptual understanding of grit has focused our attention on this construct, especially as it relates to burnout and wellness.1,2 The personality trait of grit was originally defined by Duckworth and colleagues as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”3(p1087) Across a broad range of contexts, grit has predicted achievement and commitment over and above intelligence, physical capability, and the “Big Five” personality traits.4 Grit has a strong association with conscientiousness, higher levels of hope, positive affect, self-efficacy, and engagement. In health care, higher grit scores have been associated with lower burnout scores and lower attrition rates.1,2,4 Further, in surgery residents, grit has been found to predict greater psychological well-being and lower rates of depression and burnout. However, these studies are from single institutions or small groups of residents.

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