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Higher Grit Scores Tied to Wellness in Surgery Residents

Those with higher grit scores were significantly less likely to report burnout, thoughts of attrition, suicidal thoughts

THURSDAY, July 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For general surgery residents, higher grit scores are associated with lower likelihood of burnout, thoughts of attrition, and suicidal thoughts, according to a study published online June 30 in JAMA Surgery.

D. Brock Hewitt, M.D., M.P.H., from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues characterized grit, defined as perseverance and passion for long-term goals, and assessed its association with wellness outcomes in a cross-sectional study of 7,464 clinically active U.S. general surgery residents (99.3 percent responded). The eight-item Short Grit Scale was used to measure grit.

The researchers found that significantly higher mean grit scores were seen in women, in residents in postgraduate training year 4 or 5, and in residents who were married (3.72 points for each group); the absolute magnitude of the differences was small. Residents with higher grit scores were significantly less likely to report duty hour violations, dissatisfaction with becoming a surgeon, burnout, thoughts of attrition, and suicidal thoughts in adjusted analyses (odds ratios, 0.85, 0.53, 0.53, 0.61, and 0.58, respectively). There was no association seen for grit scores with American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination performance. Mean program-level grit scores ranged from 3.18 to 4.09 points for individual residency programs.

“These results, along with previous research by other investigators and institutions, should encourage stakeholders to incorporate grit assessment in their efforts to improve resident and physician wellness; however, great care and caution must be observed in doing so,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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