THRIVE STUDY: EFFECTS OF RESILIENCE AND GRIT ON MENTAL HEALTH OUTCOMES IN COLLEGE STUDENTS

Open Access
Author:
D'Souza, Sarah E
Area of Honors:
Biobehavioral Health
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Dr. Laura Klein, Thesis Supervisor
  • Dr. Lori Francis, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • resilience
  • grit
  • mental health
  • mental health outcomes
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • stress
  • protective measures
  • college students
Abstract:
The high prevalence of anxiety, depression, and stress in the college student population is a concerning national trend that may be due to the novel stressors the transition to college life presents. Growing research suggests that there may be protective coping resources against these mental health outcomes. Grit and resilience were explored in this study based on new research linking them to positive mental health and academic outcomes, respectively. Expected findings included positive correlations between grit and resilience, positive correlations between these traits and grade point average (GPA), and negative correlations between grit and resilience with anxiety, depression, and stress. The THRIVE Study surveyed 217 18-24 year-old students currently attending 4-year universities. Study findings showed that grit and resilience were significantly and positively correlated to each other [r = +0.45, p<0.05], while neither grit nor resilience was found to be positively correlated with GPA [Resilience: r = +0.07; Grit: r = +0.05]. Consistent with current trends, THRIVE participants reported clinically significant levels of anxiety and depression and elevated levels of stress. However, as expected, students with higher levels of resilience also reported significantly less anxiety [r = -0.54, p<0.05], depression [r = -0.47, p<0.05], and stress [r = -0.48, p<0.05]. Additionally, students with higher levels of grit had significantly less anxiety [r = -0.49, p<0.05], depression [r = -0.44, p<0.05], and stress [r = -0.39, p<0.05] as well. Analysis showed that students who had high levels of both grit and resilience displayed substantially, and clinically significantly, lower levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. This finding is new and suggests a deeper relationship between grit and resilience, especially relating to mental health outcomes, that requires future studies to elucidate.