More “Grit” Leads to Better Outcomes After Rotator Cuff Repair

“Grit” is a term popularized by psychologist Angela Duckworth, PhD, that describes the ability to persevere and maintain a passion for achieving long-term goals. In a study presented at the AAOS 2021 Annual Meeting, researchers questioned whether patients’ grit, or personal motivation and ability to deal with adversity, could predict postoperative functional outcomes after rotator cuff repair (RCR).

Kurt Stoll, MD, an orthopaedic surgery resident at University of North Carolina School of Medicine, presented these findings. The study included 126 patients (mean age = 63 years) who underwent RCR at a single healthcare system between 2014 and 2018.

Participants completed a survey that included the Short Grit Scale (Grit-S) Score, which asks patients whether they agree or disagree with eight statements about motivation and goal-setting. Scores range from 1 (low grit) to 5 (high grit). Other measurements included the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) Shoulder Score, Patient-reported Outcomes Measurement Information System–Upper Extremity (PROMIS-UE), and pain analog scale.

The average grit score was 4.0 (range = 2.2 to 5.0). Patients’ average ASES, PROMIS-UE, and pain scores were 87, 48, and 1.5, respectively.

In a multivariate analysis using functional scores and pain scale as dependent variables, the researchers found that patients with low grit had significantly lower functional scores compared to those with moderate to high grit, even after accounting for confounding variables.

In addition, 18% of the observed variation in functional scores could be explained by patients’ individual levels of grit, the authors noted.