Grit

A Potential Protective Factor Against Substance Use and Other Risk Behaviors Among Latino Adolescents

Published in: Academic Pediatrics, 2016

Posted on RAND.org on February 02, 2016

by Lourdes R. Guerrero, Rebecca N. Dudovitz, Paul J. Chung, Kulwant K. Dosanjh, Mitchell D. Wong

Read More

Access further information on this document at Academic Pediatrics

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

PURPOSE: Grit, defined as "working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress," is strongly associated with academic achievement and life success and may also be associated with health outcomes and behaviors. We examined predictors of grit, and the association between grit and health behaviors among at-risk Latino adolescents. METHODS: We analyzed baseline survey data collected in 2013-2014 from a sample of 1,270 9th graders in low-income neighborhoods of Los Angeles. We examined factors associated with grit and whether grit is associated with substance use and delinquent behaviors, controlling for adolescent and parent sociodemographic factors. RESULTS: In a sample of mostly Latino adolescents (89.5%), compared to those with low grit, those with high grit had significantly lower odds of alcohol use in the last 30 days (OR=0.30, p<0.001), marijuana use (OR=0.21, p<0.05), and fighting (OR=0.58, p<0.05). Involvement in delinquent behavior was also lower (β=-0.71, p<.001). Factors associated with more grit included authoritative parenting style, parental employment, and high self-efficacy scores. CONCLUSION: Grit may be an important candidate protective factor against substance use and other risk behaviors among Latino adolescents.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.