Research Finds Grit Matters in Evidence-Based Therapy

Faculty; Public Health; Research

Front-line therapists who score high in grittiness are more likely to use evidence-based interventions to help clients with substance use disorders, according to new research from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

Researchers surveyed 240 therapists using the Short Grit Scale, an eight-question measure of grit that asked respondents how much they identified with statements such as: “Setbacks don’t discourage me.” Respondents were also asked about their attitudes toward using an evidence-based intervention in therapy.

The study found that gritty therapists were more likely to build trust with clients, more open to evidence-based approaches, and less likely to value their own experiences over evidence-based interventions (EBIs).

“The ideal EBI-using therapist is a gritty, open worker who is not constrained by their own practice experiences,” wrote the study’s lead author, David Patterson Silver Wolf, associate professor at the Brown School. “The well-known gap between science and practice can be traversed by hiring therapists who have the grit and openness to successfully navigate this chasm.”

The study was published online Aug. 6 in the Community Mental Health JournalRead more.