Original Article

Grit Does Not Predict Burnout among First-Year Internal Medicine Residents

Authors: Andrew J. Klein, MD, MS, Thomas Grau, MD, Carla L. Spagnoletti, MD, MS, Scott D. Rothenberger, PhD, Kathryn Berlacher, MD, MS


Objectives: Grit, defined as passion and perseverance for long-term goals, has been associated with the avoidance of burnout among residents in a number of specialties. We aimed to evaluate the relationship between grit and burnout among first-year Internal Medicine residents.

Methods: During the 2018–2019 academic year, the authors recruited 75 first-year Internal Medicine residents within a large academic program to complete the Short Grit Scale (Grit-S) and the Maslach Burnout Inventory General Survey (MBI-GS) at baseline and after 6 and 12 months. The primary outcome was the association between baseline Grit-S and MBI-GS scores within the domains of emotional exhaustion (EE) or cynicism (CYN) over time using linear mixed models. Secondary outcomes included the association between grit and high burnout at 6 or 12 months, grit and persistently high burnout, and the association of baseline high burnout with later high scores at 6 and 12 months using logistic regression models and trends in grit over time using repeated-measures analysis of variance.

Results: A total of 53 of 75 (71%) first-year residents completed the Grit-S and MBI-GS at baseline and at least one other time point. There was no association between grit and EE (P = 0.44) or CYN (P = 0.61) burnout domain scores. High baseline EE and high baseline CYN significantly increased the odds of later high burnout scores within each domain (EE odds ratio 9.66, 95% confidence interval 1.16–80.83; CYN odds ratio 13.37, 95% confidence interval 1.52–117.75). Grit scores and professional efficacy scores remained stable throughout the year (P = 0.15 and 0.46, respectively), while EE and CYN significantly increased (both P < 0.01).

Conclusions: In this single-center study, grit was not associated with burnout among first-year Internal Medicine residents; however, our findings highlight the value of baseline burnout scores in helping to identify first-year residents who may be at higher risk of later burnout.
Posted in: Mental Health25

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