Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Investigating grit and its relations with college students’ self-regulated learning and academic achievement


We investigated grit and its relations with students’ self-regulated learning (SRL) and academic achievement. An ethnically diverse sample of 213 college students completed an online self-report survey that included the Grit Short scale (Duckworth and Quinn Journal of Personality Assessment, 91(2), 166–174, 2009), seven indicators of SRL and their past and present academic achievement. Results indicated that one aspect of grit, perseverance of effort, was a consistent and adaptive predictor for all indicators of SRL including value, self-efficacy, cognitive, metacognitive, motivational, time and study environment management strategies, and procrastination. A second aspect of grit, consistency of interest, was associated only with the latter two facets of SRL. Perseverance of effort predicted achievement before, but not after, accounting for SRL; hence, students’ engagement in SRL may serve as a mediating pathway through which this aspect of grit is associated with improved academic outcomes. In contrast, consistency of interest showed no relation to achievement. Implications of the findings for additional research and instruction are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator–mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6), 1173–1182. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.51.6.1173.

  2. Bartels, J. M., & Magun-Jackson, S. (2009). Approach–avoidance motivation and metacognitive self-regulation: the role of need for achievement and fear of failure. Learning and Individual Differences, 19(4), 459–463.

  3. Bartels, J. M., Magun-Jackson, S., & Ryan, J. J. (2010). Dispositional approach-avoidance achievement motivation and cognitive self-regulated learning: the mediation of achievement goals. Individual Differences Research, 8(2), 97–110.

  4. Bidjerano, T., & Dai, D. Y. (2007). The relationship between the big-five model of personality and self-regulated learning strategies. Learning and Individual Differences, 17(1), 69–81.

  5. Caskie, G. I. L., Sutton, M. C., & Eckhardt, A. G. (2014). Accuracy of self-reported college GPA: gender-moderated differences by achievement level and academic self-efficacy. Journal of College Student Development, 55(4), 385–390. doi:10.1353/csd.2014.0038.

  6. Chen, L. H., Wu, C. H., Kee, Y. H., Lin, M. S., & Shui, S. H. (2009). Fear of failure, 2× 2 achievement goal and self-handicapping: an examination of the hierarchical model of achievement motivation in physical education. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 34(4), 298–305.

  7. Claessens, B. C., vanEerde, W., Rutte, C. G., & Roe, R. A. (2007). A review of the time management literature. Personnel Review, 36(2), 255–276.

  8. Conroy, D. E., & Elliot, A. J. (2004). Fear of failure and achievement goals in sport: addressing the issue of the chicken and the egg. Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 17(3), 271–285.

  9. De Feyter, T., Caers, R., Vigna, C., & Berings, D. (2012). Unraveling the impact of the big five personality traits on academic performance: the moderating and mediating effects of self-efficacy and academic motivation. Learning and Individual Differences, 22(4), 439–448.

  10. Diseth, Å., & Kobbeltvedt, T. (2010). A mediation analysis of achievement motives, goals, learning strategies, and academic achievement. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 80(4), 671–687.

  11. Diseth, Å., & Martinsen, Ø. (2003). Approaches to learning, cognitive style, and motives as predictors of academic achievement. Educational Psychology, 23(2), 195–207.

  12. Duckworth, A. L., & Quinn, P. D. (2009). Development and validation of the Short Grit Scale (GRIT–S). Journal of Personality Assessment, 91(2), 166–174.

  13. 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(6), 1087–1101.

  14. Duckworth, A. L., Tsukayama, E., & May, H. (2010). Establishing causality using longitudinal hierarchical linear modeling: an illustration predicting achievement from self-control. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1(4), 311–317.

  15. Eilam, B., Zeidner, M., & Aharon, I. (2009). Student conscientiousness, self‐regulated learning, and science achievement: an explorative field study. Psychology in the Schools, 46(5), 420–432.

  16. Elliot, A. J., & Church, M. A. (1997). A hierarchical model of approach and avoidance achievement motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72(1), 218–232.

  17. Elliot, A. J., & McGregor, H. A. (2001). A 2× 2 achievement goal framework. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80(3), 501–519.

  18. Elliot, A. J., & Murayama, K. (2008). On the measurement of achievement goals: critique, illustration, and application. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(3), 613–628.

  19. Ferrari, J. R., Driscoll, M., & Díaz-Morales, J. F. (2007). Examining the self of chronic procrastinators: actual, ought, and undesired attributes. Individual Differences Research, 5(2), 115–123.

  20. Hofer, B. K., Yu, S. L., & Pintrich, P. R. (1998). Teaching college students to be self-regulated learners. In D. Schunk and B. Zimmerman (Eds.), Self-regulated learning: From teaching to self-reflective practice (pp. 57–85). New York: The Guilford Press.

  21. Kitsantas, A., Winsler, A., & Huie, F. (2008). Self-regulation and ability predictors of academic success during college: a predictive validity study. Journal of Advanced Academics, 20(1), 42–68.

  22. Kleiman, E. M., Adams, L. M., Kashdan, T. B., & Riskind, J. H. (2013). Grateful individuals are not suicidal: buffering risks associated with hopelessness and depressive symptoms. Personality and Individual Differences, 55(5), 595–599.

  23. Komarraju, M., Karau, S. J., & Schmeck, R. R. (2009). Role of the big five personality traits in predicting college students’ academic motivation and achievement. Learning and Individual Differences, 19(1), 47–52.

  24. Kuncel, N. R., Crede, M., & Thomas, L. L. (2005). The validity of self-reported grade point averages, class rank, and test scores: a meta-analysis and review of the literature. Review of Educational Research, 75(1), 63–82. doi:10.3102/00346543075001063.

  25. Linnenbrink, E. A., & Pintrich, P. R. (2003). The role of self-efficacy beliefs in student engagement and learning in the classroom. Reading &Writing Quarterly, 19(2), 119–137.

  26. Macan, T., Shahani, C., Dipboye, R. L., & Phillips, A. P. (1990). College students’ time management: correlations with academic performance and stress. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 760–768.

  27. MacCann, C., & Roberts, R. (2010). Do time management, grit, and self-control relate to academic achievement independently of conscientiousness? In R. Hicks (Ed.), Personality and individual differences: Current directions (pp. 79–90). Bowen Hills, QLD, AUS: Australian Academic Press.

  28. Maddi, S. R., Matthews, M. D., Kelly, D. R., Villarreal, B., & White, M. (2012). The role of hardiness and grit in predicting performance and retention of USMA cadets. Military Psychology, 24(1), 19–28.

  29. Michou, A., Mouratidis, A., Lens, W., & Vansteenkiste, M. (2013). Personal and contextual antecedents of achievement goals: their direct and indirect relations to students’ learning strategies. Learning and Individual Differences, 23, 187–194.

  30. Pajares, F. (1996). Self-efficacy beliefs in academic settings. Review of Educational Research, 66(4), 543–578.

  31. Pintrich, P. (2004). A conceptual framework for assessing motivation and self–regulated learning in college students. Educational Psychology Review, 16, 385–407.

  32. Pintrich, P., & Zusho, A. (2002). The development of academic self–regulation: The role of cognitive and motivational factors. In A. Wigfield & J. Eccles (Eds.), Development of achievement motivation (pp. 249–284). San Diego: Academic.

  33. Pintrich, P. R., & Zusho, A. (2007). Student motivation and self-regulated learning in the college classroom. In R. P. Perry & J. C. Smart (Eds.), The scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education: An evidence-based perspective (pp. 731–810). The Netherlands: Springer.

  34. Pintrich, P., Smith, D., Garcia, T., & McKeachie, W. (1993). Predictive validity and reliability of the motivated strategies for learning questionnaire (MSLQ). Educational and Psychological Measurement, 53, 801–813.

  35. Pintrich, P., Wolters, C., & Baxter, G. (2000). Assessing metacognition and self–regulated learning. In G. Schraw (Ed.), Metacognitive assessment (pp. 43–97). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

  36. Platt, A., & Drew, M. (2013). Career counseling. In D. Capuzzi & D. Gross (Eds.), Introduction to the counseling profession (6 th ed., pp. 369 395). New York: Routledge.

  37. Reed, J., Pritschet, B. L., & Cutton, D. M. (2013). Grit, conscientiousness, and the transtheoretical model of change for exercise behavior. Journal of Health Psychology, 18(5), 612–619.

  38. Richardson, M., & Abraham, C. (2009). Conscientiousness and achievement motivation predict performance. European Journal of Personality, 23, 589–605.

  39. Richardson, M., Abraham, C., & Bond, R. (2012). Psychological correlates of university students’ academic performance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 138(2), 353–387.

  40. Robbins, S. B., Lauver, K., Le, H., Davis, D., Langley, R., & Carlstrom, A. (2004). Do psychosocial and study skill factors predict college outcomes? A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 130(2), 261–288.

  41. Schouwenburg, H. C., Lay, C. H., Pychyl, T. A., & Ferrari, J. R. (2004). Counseling the procrastinator in academic settings[Electronic version]. Retrieved from

  42. Schraw, G., Wadkins, T., & Olafson, L. (2007). Doing the things we do: a grounded theory of academic procrastination. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 12–25.

  43. Schunk, D., & Zimmerman, B. (Eds.). (1998). Self-regulated learning: From teaching to self-reflective practice. New York: Guilford Press.

  44. Schunk, D., & Zimmerman, B. (Eds.). (2008). Motivation and self-regulated learning: Theory, research, and applications. Mahwah: Erlbaum Associates.

  45. Schwinger, M., Steinmayr, R., & Spinath, B. (2009). How do motivational regulation strategies affect achievement: mediated by effort management and moderated by intelligence. Learning and Individual Differences, 19, 621–627.

  46. Steel, P. (2010). Arousal, avoidant and decisional procrastinators: Do they exist? Personality and Individual Differences, 48, 926–934.

  47. Steel, P. (2007). The nature of procrastination: a meta-analytic and theoretical review of quintessential self-regulatory failure. Psychological Bulletin, 133(1), 65–94.

  48. Strayhorn, T. L. (2013). What role does grit play in the academic success of Black male collegians at predominantly White institutions?. Journal of African American Studies, 1–10. doi: 10.1007/s12111-012-9243-0.

  49. Trautwein, U., Lüdtke, O., Roberts, B. W., Schnyder, I., & Niggli, A. (2009). Different forces, same consequence: conscientiousness and competence beliefs are independent predictors of academic effort and achievement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97(6), 1115–1128.

  50. vanEerde, W. (2004). Procrastination in academic settings and the big five model of personality: A meta-analysis. In H. Schouwenburg, C. Lay, T. Pychyl, & J. Ferrari, (Eds.). Counseling the procrastinator in academic settings (pp. 29–40). American Psychological Association.

  51. Weinstein, C. E., Acee, T. W., & Jung, J. (2011). Self‐regulation and learning strategies. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2011(126), 45–53.

  52. Wigfield, A., & Cambria, J. (2010). Students’ achievement values, goal orientations, and interest: definitions, development, and relations to achievement outcomes. Developmental Review, 30(1), 1–35.

  53. Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J. S. (2000). Expectancy–value theory of achievement motivation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(1), 68–81.

  54. Winne, P., & Hadwin, A. F. (1998). Studying as self-regulated learning. In D. J. Hacker, J. Dunlosky, & A. C. Graesser (Eds.), Metacognition in educational theory and practice (pp. 279–306). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.

  55. Winne, P., & Hadwin, A. (2008). The weave of motivation and self-regulated learning. In D. Schunk & B. Zimmerman (Eds.), Motivation and self-regulated learning: Theory, research, and applications (pp. 297–314). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

  56. Wolters, C. A. (1998). Self-regulated learning and college students’ regulation of motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90(2), 224.

  57. Wolters, C. A. (2003a). Regulation of motivation: evaluating an underemphasized aspect of self-regulated learning. Educational Psychologist, 38(4), 189–205.

  58. Wolters, C. A. (2003b). Understanding procrastination from a self-regulated learning perspective. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(1), 179–187.

  59. Wolters, C., & Benzon, M. (2013). Assessing and predicting college students’ use of strategies for the self-regulation of motivation. Journal of Experimental Education, 18, 199–221.

  60. Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Self-efficacy: an essential motive to learn. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(1), 82–91.

  61. Zimmerman, B., & Schunk, D. (2008). Motivation: An essential dimension of self-regulated learning. In D. Schunk & B. Zimmerman (Eds.), Motivation and self-regulated learning: Theory, research, and applications (pp. 1–30). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

  62. Zimmerman, B., Greenberg, D., & Weinstein, C. (1994). Self-regulating academic study time: A strategy approach. In D. Schunk & B. Zimmerman (Eds.), Self-regulation of learning and performance: Issues and educational applications (pp. 181–199). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Christopher A. Wolters.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Wolters, C.A., Hussain, M. Investigating grit and its relations with college students’ self-regulated learning and academic achievement. Metacognition Learning 10, 293–311 (2015).

Download citation


  • Grit
  • Self-regulated learning
  • Motivation
  • Strategies
  • Procrastination
  • Achievement
  • Postsecondary