A study co-authored by Clarkson University Associate Professor of Physical Therapy and Biology Ali Boolani suggests that grit -- one's personality associated with perseverance and passion for a long-term goal -- determines lifestyle behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The research appears in the January 2021 issue of the peer-reviewed academic journal Personality and Individual Differences.
The study for the researchers' scientific paper, "Influence of grit on lifestyle factors during the COVID-19 pandemic in a sample of adults in the United States," examined the relationship between grit and lifestyle behaviors during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and initial lockdowns in the United States.
Those with higher grit (more conscientious and more determined to persevere) were more physically active, reported less sedentary time, and practiced better dietary habits.
"Interestingly, grittier individuals are also more likely to want to lead a healthier lifestyle even though they are already leading a pretty darn healthy lifestyle," says Boolani. "So long story short, gritty people led a healthier lifestyle during the pandemic and had a desire to do even better."
Boolani adds that grit is not only a good trait to have to survive the pandemic in a healthy way, but it can also lead to better health during other stressful or negative events, or even in non-pandemic times.
"We should focus on increasing grit in individuals as a way to make them want to lead healthier lifestyles," he says. "There is some great work by Angela Duckworth on grit and how we can increase it.
"Anyone who wants to lead a healthier lifestyle shouldn't just focus on physical activity and a healthy diet, but also focus on increasing their grit. Our research shows that grittier individuals not only led a healthier lifestyle during the pandemic, but they also wanted to continue to improve."
The co-authors of the paper were Julia O. Totosy de Zepetnek of the Faculty of Kinesiology & Health Studies at University of Regina; and Joel Martin, Nelson Cortes and Shane V. Caswell of the Sports Medicine Assessment Research & Testing (SMART) Laboratory at George Mason University.
Read the full study at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886921000805