Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Cindy Flom-Meland


Background and Purpose: The purpose of this longitudinal study was to identify any correlations between grit scores, perceived stress levels, academic success (GPA), and demographics (age) among doctor of physical therapy (DPT) students at the University of North Dakota (UND). Grit was assessed using the 12 item Grit scale (Grit-O) from Angela Duckworth. Perceived stress was assessed using the IO item perceived stress scale (PSS).

Methods: The Grit-O and PSS scales were distributed to first year DPT students at UND by the primary investigator. 154 students consented to participate in the study, 102 first year students and 52 second year students. A non-blinded faculty member pulled and coded demographic data, Grit-O and PSS scales for each student. The data was put into a spreadsheet that student researchers used to score the scales.

Results: Following SPSS data analysis, there were no significant findings when comparing overall grit score, age, and various GPA scores of year-one and year-two DPT students. Significant correlation was found between first year students' overall stress score and cumulative GPA after their first year of being in the DPT program.

Discussion: There was a significant relationship between stress and academic success but due to the overall low PSS scores of PT students and conflicting results in other studies, the meaning of the relationship is unclear. There was no significant relationship between grit and academic success. There were limitations with using the Grit-O scale and PSS and concerns about using Duckworth' s grit scale as a predictor of academic success