Longitudinal study of grit among pharmacy students: Impact of cohort and professional year

Katherine Gruenberg, Tina Brock, Conan MacDougall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Introduction: Whether grit changes over a student's enrollment in health professions school is unknown. We aimed to measure grit across 13 cohort-years of students in a four-year doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) program. 

Methods: We administered the Short Grit Scale (Grit-S) to first-year (P1), second-year (P2), third-year (P3), and fourth-year (P4) PharmD students between 2016 and 2019. There was no intervention aimed at increasing grit. 

Results: A total of 1381 responses were recorded across 624 students (86.5% response rate). Across all graduation cohorts, Grit-S scores significantly decreased by an average of 0.087 points from P1 to P2 (P = .004), increased significantly from P2 to P3 by 0.09 points (P < .001), and nominally increased from P3 to P4 by 0.023 points (P = .45). Between cohort differences in paired Grit-S scores only differed significantly for P3 to P4 (P = .03) and P1 to P3 (P = .01) years. A mixed-effects linear regression model clustered on graduation cohort and individual student found that mean Grit-S scores in the P2 year were − 0.1 points lower than those in the P1 year (P < .001). However, differences between P3 and P1 (−0.04, P = .17) and between P4 and P1 (−0.03, P = .37) were not statistically significant. 

Conclusions: In the absence of a specific intervention, statistically significant changes in Grit-S scores occur over the course of a pharmacy school curriculum. The P1 year may be associated with a decline in grit, although by the P4 year Grit-S scores return to baseline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-839
Number of pages5
JournalCurrents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Education, pharmacy
  • Grit
  • Longitudinal studies
  • Students, pharmacy

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