Grittiness of adolescent residential frontline staff

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Nursing


There are an estimated 48,000 adolescents residing in U.S. residential facilities (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention [OJJDP], 2019). While this is a 50% reduction in the last two decades (Sickmund, Sladky, Kang, & Puzzanchera, 2017), adolescent residential facilities are housing extremely violent and emotionally disturbed adolescents. Because of the violent nature of these adolescents, turnover rates of staff in this field are as high as 70% (Seti, 2008). There is an abundance of literature assessing burnout, emotional exhaustion, and compassion fatigue in this area but a gap in the literature exists examining individual protective factors, such as grit, of employees who choose to stay despite difficulties associated with the job. Duckworth (2016) describes individuals with high grit as being resilient, tenacious, and having the ability to overcome significant setbacks with high levels of self-control. The aim of this project was to reduce the literature gap and supplement present literature by evaluating grittiness of frontline staff working in an adolescent residential facility as well as determine usefulness of pre-screening future candidates with the use of the Grit Scale. Employees of a Midwest adolescent residential facility who remained in a frontline staff position for greater than one year completed a12-item Grit Scale (Duckworth, 2016) and a demographics questionnaire. Overall, results showed that participants were 'very gritty' with an average grit score of 4.3, falling in the 80th percentile of a large group of adult Americans (Duckworth, 2016). The results of this project are promising and could be used as a foundation for practice change and future research with a larger sample.




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