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Persevering with Positivity and Purpose: An Examination of Purpose Commitment and Positive Affect as Predictors of Grit

Abstract

Grit, defined as a passion and perseverance for one’s goals, has been consistently demonstrated as an adaptive resource across multiple domains. Less explored, however, are the correlates of and sources from which grit is derived. The current studies examined two plausible candidates for promoting grit, positive affect and commitment to a purpose, using college student samples from Canada and the United States. Study 1 confirmed our predictions that grittier students tended to report greater positive affect and purpose commitment, and demonstrated that these variables appear to be unique and independent predictors of grit. Study 2 examined these claims using two-wave data collected across a semester, and found that while both purpose and positive affect were initially correlated with grit, only initial levels of purpose predicted grit at wave two. In other words, having a life direction may help more than positive affect when predicting who is likely to become grittier over a college semester. Implications of these findings are discussed.

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Acknowledgments

This research was funded in part through an Insight Development Grant awarded to the first and second authors by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Award Number: 430-2013-000029).

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Correspondence to Patrick L. Hill.

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Hill, P.L., Burrow, A.L. & Bronk, K.C. Persevering with Positivity and Purpose: An Examination of Purpose Commitment and Positive Affect as Predictors of Grit. J Happiness Stud 17, 257–269 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-014-9593-5

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Keywords

  • Grit
  • Purpose
  • Positive affect
  • Emerging adulthood