Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Malecki, Christine K.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


School professionals are charged not only with advancing students’ content knowledge, but also with developing their social and emotional skills; however, adolescence is a period in which many individuals experience declines in academic performance and mental health. The current study investigated associations between grit, academic grit, and growth mindset with academic achievement, subjective well-being, and psychopathology. Second, this study examined the demographic makeup of mental health groups posited by the dual-factor model of mental health, as well as group-level differences in grit, academic grit, growth mindset, and academic achievement across mental health groups identified through latent profile analysis. Adolescents (N = 429) completed the following self-report scales: Short Grit Scale (Duckworth & Quinn, 2009), Academic Grit Scale (Clark & Malecki, 2019), Implicit Theories of Intelligence Scale (Dweck, 1999), Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale (Huebner, 1991), Positive and Negative Affect Scale for Children (Laurent et al., 1999), and Youth Self-Report Form (Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001). Hierarchical regression analyses examined the associations among non-cognitive variables (grit, academic grit, growth mindset) and academic achievement, life satisfaction, and psychopathology). Moderation of these associations by adolescents’ gender or socioeconomic status was also investigated; however, the hierarchical regression models with interaction terms included did not account for a significant increase in variance. General grit, academic grit, and growth mindset were significantly positively associated with academic achievement. Both general grit and academic grit were significantly positively associated with life satisfaction. General grit was significantly associated with internalizing problems, and academic grit was significantly associated with externalizing problems. LPA revealed 4 emergent mental health groups (i.e., Complete Mental Health, Moderately Mentally Healthy, Troubled-Moderate, and Troubled-Severe). These groups varied from the groups posited by the dual-factor model and aligned better with a more traditional conceptualization of mental health, as a vulnerable and symptomatic but content group were not indicated, two profiles of troubled adolescents emerged, and a Moderately Mentally Healthy group emerged. Chi-square test revealed disproportionalities across mental health groups in terms of gender and socioeconomic status, with females overrepresented in the Troubled group and adolescents with lower socioeconomic status overrepresented in the Moderately Mentally Healthy and Troubled groups. Adolescents with Complete Mental Health had significantly higher academic achievement, grit, and academic grit than other adolescents; they also reported a higher growth mindset than adolescents who were Moderately Mentally Healthy or Troubled. Implications of the proposed study’s findings are described, including how these findings inform school psychological theory and practice. Limitations and future directions are also discussed.


108 pages




Northern Illinois University

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