Meta-analysis shows that persistence in effort or determination is strongly associated with better subjective well-being

Grit, a trait consisting of perseverance against adversity and passion for long-term goals, is a strong predictor of success, but how it affects a person’s subjective well-being is less well known. research published Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that persistence of effort has a strong relationship with subjective well-being, while persistence of interest (i.e., passion) has a weak relationship.

Study authors Xiangling Hou and colleagues defined subjective well-being in this study by assessing two sub-aspects: affective well-being and cognitive well-being. “Affective well-being is characterized by the presence of positive or pleasant affects (e.g. happiness) and the absence of negative or unpleasant affects (e.g. depression). Cognitive well-being, on the other hand, refers to the cognitive assessment of life as a whole (ie life satisfaction) as well as specific areas of life (ie job satisfaction, school satisfaction),” the researchers write.

One theory suggests that grit may be related to subjective well-being by facilitating successful goal pursuit and attainment. Another reason is that grit is associated with a positive and optimistic attitude towards yourself and life, which can then promote greater well-being.

Researchers performed a meta-analysis, which is an analytical technique that combines the results of multiple studies, to examine how grit is related to subjective well-being. To do this, they collected a total of 83 studies with a total of over 66,000 participants.

Results showed a strong relationship between overall determination and endurance of effort with subjective well-being. On the other hand, persistence of interest (i.e., passion for long-term goals) was weakly associated with subjective well-being. The latter relationship became even weaker for older participants. Culture had nothing to do with the relationship between grit and subjective well-being.

The results also allowed the researchers to separate grit from the conscientiousness trait in the Big Five personality inventory. Conscientiousness or thoughtfulness is a similar trait that can contribute to higher subjective well-being as it also makes it easier to pursue and achieve goals. Although research shows that conscientiousness and courage are highly correlated, this meta-analysis shows that they are separate constructs that contribute differently to subjective well-being.

The study authors caution that improving a person’s subjective well-being is not as simple as implementing grit intervention programs designed to “teach” or “improve” grit. Whether Grit caused Improvements in subjective well-being or vice versa. The researchers also warn that there are likely other variables relevant to grit and subjective well-being that were not included in this study.

The study ‘Do braver people have greater subjective well-being? A meta-analysis” was written by Xiang-Ling Hou, Nicolas Becker, Tian-Qiang Hu, Marco Koch, Ju-Zhe Xi and René Mõttus.

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