Abstract: A Structural Equation Model of Spirituality, Employment Hope and Grit Among Low-Income Jobseekers (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

109P A Structural Equation Model of Spirituality, Employment Hope and Grit Among Low-Income Jobseekers

Thursday, January 16, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Philip Hong, PhD, Professor, Loyola University, Chicago, IL
David Hodge, PhD, Professor and Honors Faculty, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Jang Ho Park, MSW, Doctoral Student, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL
Background and Purpose: Since the emergence of positive psychology movement, grit has increasingly been included as one of the important factors to achieve successful outcomes in the context of academic success/achievement, teacher effectiveness, and professional success (Hammond et al., 2017; Kraft & Duckworth, 2014; Locke & Latham, 2013; Strayhorn, 2013). Specifically, grit, a concept of non-cognitive skill and a combination of passion and perseverance, enables people to obtain success by overcoming adversity (Duckworth, 2016; Hodge et al., 2019). This study collected time-series data and propensity score matching method was used to control for confounding factors to grit. Therefore, the present research fills a gap in the literature by using multiple time point and by investigating how spirituality, through the construct of hope, affects grit. It was hypothesized that initial information of spirituality would relate to hope, and that hope, in turn, would relate to grit on later information.

Methods: This study used data collected a convenient sample from two local agencies providing job training services for low-income job seekers. A total of 435 clients who participated the survey twice was used for this study. A majority of the respondents were African Americans (82.51%), Male (60.72%), and unemployed (68.48%). Key constructs in the hypothesized model are spirituality, employment hope, and grit. The independent latent variable, spirituality, was measured with the intrinsic spirituality scale (ISS) (Hodge, 2003), which is six-item scale measures the degree to which spirituality functions. The mediating latent variable, hope, was measured with the employment hope scale Hope Scale (EHS) (Hong et al., 2014), which has 14 items assessing the degree of psychological empowerment or confidence in obtaining job-related goals. The dependent variable, grit, was measure with the short grit scale (Grit-S) (Duckworth & Quinn, 2009), which is eight-item with two sub-factors – consistency of interest and perseverance of effort. Before running measurement with structural equation modeling (SEM), propensity score method was used to control for the confounding effects on grit combining demographic variables. Structural equation modeling was performed with STATA. The result of the structural equation modeling indicates that spirituality at time 1 has a direct and indirect positive effect on grit at time 2 and that this relationship is mediated by employment hope at time 1.

Results: The result revealed that spirituality has a positive effect on grit and that this relationship is partially mediated by employment hope. That is, spirituality and employment hope are important factors to enhance grit. Specifically, all hypotheses were supported. The relationship between spirituality and employment hope was significant. Also, the relationship between employment hope and grit, which implied that spirituality may improve grit, mediated by employment hope. Spirituality showed a direct, positive effect on grit.

Conclusions and Implications: The results have important implications for social work practice. To help foster grit in social work practice setting, it is suggested that spirituality based cognitive or non-cognitive program should be provided as well as hope to enhance clients’ grit and positive successful outcomes.