Grit in adolescence is protective of late-life cognition: non-cognitive factors and cognitive reserve

E. Rhodes, K.N. Devlin, L. Steinberg, T. Giovannetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Various psychological assets have been shown to protect against late-life cognitive impairment by promoting cognitive reserve. While factors such as educational attainment and IQ are well-established contributors to cognitive reserve, noncognitive factors, such as grit, have not been studied in this regard. We examined the contribution of adolescent grit, indexed by high school class rank controlling for IQ, to late-life cognition and its decline among approximately 4000 participants in the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, a random sample of high school graduates followed from 1957 to 2011. Adolescent grit significantly predicted both immediate and delayed memory at ages 64 and 71, over and above the contribution of IQ. While the relative contributions of IQ and grit to immediate memory were comparable, grit was a stronger predictor of delayed memory. Cognitive reserve has noncognitive, as well as cognitive, components. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-332
Number of pages12
JournalAging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Cited By :4

Export Date: 26 December 2018


Correspondence Address: Giovannetti, T.; Department of Psychology, Temple UniversityUnited States; email:

Funding details: National Science Foundation, NSF

Funding details: National Institute on Aging, NIA, AG-033285

Funding details: National Institute on Aging, NIA, AG-21079

Funding details: National Institute on Aging, NIA, AG-9775

Funding details: National Institute on Aging, NIA, AG-041868

Funding details: Graduate School, Duke University, DGE-1144462

Funding details: Spencer Foundation

Funding text 1: The WLS has been supported principally by the National Institute on Aging: [Grant Numbers AG-9775, AG-21079, AG-033285, and AG-041868], with additional support from the Vilas Estate Trust, the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the Graduate School of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The present study was partially supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship: [Grant Number DGE-1144462].


  • academic achievement
  • class rank
  • cognitive aging
  • Cognitive reserve
  • intelligence
  • non-cognitive factors
  • adolescence
  • adolescent
  • adult
  • cognitive reserve
  • high school graduate
  • human
  • longitudinal study
  • major clinical study
  • random sample
  • short term memory
  • Wisconsin
  • aged
  • aging
  • child psychology
  • educational status
  • follow up
  • memory
  • middle aged
  • personality
  • psychological resilience
  • psychology
  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Cognitive Reserve
  • Educational Status
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Memory
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Resilience, Psychological


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