South Med J. 2021 May;114(5):272-276. doi: 10.14423/SMJ.0000000000001246.
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.