My research focuses on two traits that predict achievement: grit and self-control. Grit is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals (Duckworth et al., 2007). Self-control is the voluntary regulation of impulses in the presence of momentarily gratifying temptations (Duckworth & Seligman, 2005; Duckworth & Steinberg, 2015). On average, individuals who are gritty are more self-controlled, but the correlation between these two traits is not perfect: Some individuals are paragons of grit but not self-control, and some exceptionally well-regulated individuals are not especially gritty (Duckworth & Gross, 2014).


Researchers and educators are welcome to use the scales I have developed for non-commercial purposes.

On a cautionary note, these scales were originally designed to assess individual differences rather than subtle within-individual changes in behavior over time. Thus, it’s uncertain whether they are valid indicators of pre- to post-change as a consequence of interventions. I also discourage the use of these scales in high-stakes settings where faking is a concern (e.g., admissions or hiring decisions). Please see the article Measurement Matters for more information.

If you are interested in grit in particular, I encourage you to use the 12-item Grit Scale since the 8-item questionnaire omits items that, in my current view, are important in underscoring goal pursuit over extended time frames.

These scales are copyrighted. They cannot be published or used for commercial purposes or wide public distribution. Therefore, journalists and book authors should not reproduce these scales nor any part of them.

Selected Publications

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