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Prior research found that greater trait curiosity, fewer depressive symptoms, and being a woman increase the likelihood that a person will start a gratitude intervention on their own. Yet, little is known as to why these individual differences lead to self-initiation. In the present study, we examined motivational mechanisms that might account for these effects. In-home interviews were conducted with 257 adults from the community. Participants received a leaflet about gratitude interventions that asked about gratitude social belief norms (what other important people they care about would do), utility and self-control beliefs (e.g., usefulness, perceived difficulty), and intentions to start a gratitude intervention. They also completed measures of curiosity and depressive symptoms. Afterwards, participants received codes that allowed them to take part in a web-based gratitude intervention (strictly voluntary). Using structural equation modeling, we found that greater trait curiosity, fewer depressive symptoms, and being a woman indirectly led to the initiation of the gratitude intervention as a function of utility beliefs, social norm beliefs, and perceived self-control. Results suggest specific motivational pathways through which curiosity, depression, and sex influence the development of grateful people.
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Why do greater curiosity and fewer depressive symptoms predict
gratitude intervention use? Utility beliefs, social norm, and self-control
Lukasz D. Kaczmarek
, Todd B. Kashdan
, Dariusz Dra˛ _
, Aleksandra Bujacz
Fallon R. Goodman
Adam Mickiewicz University, Instytut Psychologii, Ul Szamarzewskiego 89, Poznan
´, 60-568, Poland
George Mason University, Mail Stop 3F5, Fairfax, VA 22030, United States
article info
Article history:
Received 30 September 2013
Received in revised form 12 March 2014
Accepted 23 March 2014
Theory of planned behavior
Prior research found that greater trait curiosity, fewer depressive symptoms, and being a woman increase
the likelihood that a person will start a gratitude intervention on their own. Yet, little is known as to why
these individual differences lead to self-initiation. In the present study, we examined motivational mech-
anisms that might account for these effects. In-home interviews were conducted with 257 adults from
the community. Participants received a leaflet about gratitude interventions that asked about gratitude
social belief norms (what other important people they care about would do), utility and self-control
beliefs (e.g., usefulness, perceived difficulty), and intentions to start a gratitude intervention. They also
completed measures of curiosity and depressive symptoms. Afterwards, participants received codes that
allowed them to take part in a web-based gratitude intervention (strictly voluntary). Using structural
equation modeling, we found that greater trait curiosity, fewer depressive symptoms, and being a woman
indirectly led to the initiation of the gratitude intervention as a function of utility beliefs, social norm
beliefs, and perceived self-control. Results suggest specific motivational pathways through which curios-
ity, depression, and sex influence the development of grateful people.
Ó2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
1. Introduction
Despite the ubiquity and lucrative market, little is known about
who initiates self-help interventions and why they do. Self-help
seekers are not a homogeneous group (Parks, Della Port, Pierce,
Zilca, & Lyubomirsky, 2012) suggesting that there are problems
with one-size-all approaches for motivating people. In a recent
study, Kaczmarek and colleagues (2013) gave people information
about a website with free gratitude interventions that they could
access if they chose. Greater curiosity, fewer depressive symptoms,
and being a woman were each linked to a greater likelihood of vol-
untarily starting the gratitude intervention. To date, no research
exists on the mechanisms accounting for these effects. The primary
goal of the present study was to examine motivational factors (per-
ceptions about usefulness, social norm beliefs, self-control beliefs)
that might explain why certain individual differences (curiosity,
depression, sex) alter the likelihood of initiating a gratitude
1.1. Gratitude interventions
Gratitude is an emotional state that occurs when an individual
attends to the benefits and gifts that are attributable to the kind-
ness of others (McCullough, Kilpatrick, Emmons, & Larson, 2001).
Intentionally attending to moments of gratitude in one’s daily
experiences has been shown to enhance positive experiences and
reduce depressive symptoms (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). Sim-
ilar effects were maintained as much as six months after the formal
intervention ended (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). Com-
pared to other positive psychological interventions, gratitude jour-
naling is perceived by recipients as more efficacious and useful
compared (Huffman et al., 2014) and it is more willingly self-initi-
ated than other interventions (Parks et al., 2012). Gratitude
0191-8869/Ó2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Project supported by National Science Center Poland (N N106 291239) to
Lukasz Kaczmarek. Todd Kashdan was funded by the Center for the Advancement of
Well-Being, George Mason University.
Corresponding author. Address: Department of Psychology, MS 3F5, George
Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, United States. Tel.: +1 703 993 9486; fax: +1
703 993 1359.
E-mail address: (T.B. Kashdan).
Personality and Individual Differences 66 (2014) 165–170
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Personality and Individual Differences
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interventions are particularly appealing because of their low finan-
cial cost and with minimal time commitment.
1.2. Theory of planned behavior
The theory of planned behavior (TPB; Ajzen, 1991, 2011) offers
a framework for understanding how individual differences (i.e.
curiosity, depression, sex) work in concert to understand the moti-
vation for and actual engagement in a gratitude intervention. In the
TPB human behavior is guided by three belief symptoms: the likely
consequences of the behavior (utility beliefs), the normative
expectations of highly valued people (social norm beliefs), and
the presence of factors that may hinder the behavior (self-control
beliefs). Behavioral beliefs result in a favorable or unfavorable atti-
tude toward the behavior, normative beliefs result in assumptions
about what other important people think is the best course of
action, and control beliefs result in perceptions about the difficulty
or effort required to execute a behavior. Together, these TPB com-
ponents inform behavioral intentions that can translate into actual
behavior in a given context. The TPB is particularly relevant to the
study of positive interventions. It provides evidence that account-
ing for intentions is necessary to explain relationships between
personality and behaviors, and it helps to identify specific areas
of individual differences (e.g., attitudes) that guide intentional
behaviors. Thus, TPB might help disentangle the motivation of vol-
untarily participating in a self-help intervention.
The TPB provides a guide to understanding behavioral motiva-
tions, but the foundational framework fails to account for back-
ground factors such as personality or trait-like variables. It does
not specify how and where beliefs originate. Background factors
provide critical information about possible antecedents of behav-
ioral, normative, and control beliefs. Failing to account for intention
and its motivational antecedents misses crucial information about
which individuals are likely to initiate a gratitude intervention.
1.3. Curiosity and motivation for gratitude interventions
Curious individuals might be especially likely to seek out oppor-
tunities for self-change. Curiosity involves a preference for new
and unusual activities (Spielberger & Starr, 1994). This preference
might increase the motivation to try out an intervention that
encourages new attitudes and responses to gifts received from
other people (via a gratitude intervention). Self-change is at the
minimum, mildly uncomfortable. A lack of perceived control or
wariness of uncertainty might inhibit less curious people from ini-
tiating self-change exercises. Curious people might find it easier to
participate because they believe they have the ability to effectively
cope with or make sense of the novelty, distress, and uncertainty
that accompanies lifestyle changes (Silvia, 2008).
An experimental study indicated that gratitude interventions
offer more favorable outcomes for people who are more open to
new experiences (Senf & Liau, 2012). Because curious people to have
more positive experiences and positive evaluations of themselves
and the world (Kashdan, Sherman, Yarbro, & Funder, 2013;
Kashdan & Steger, 2007), they may be motivated to initiate a grati-
tude intervention. Positive experiences ensure more opportunities
to feel and express gratitude, increasing the usefulness and ease of
gratitude exercises. Taken together, curiosity is a potential predictor
of utility, social norm, and self-control beliefs, which in turn, should
increase intentions to engage in gratitude experiments on the self.
1.4. Depression and motivation for gratitude interventions
Depressed individuals might be less likely to self-initiate behav-
ioral change. Their avoidance orientation and reduced reward
responsiveness (Henriques & Davidson, 2000) may hinder motiva-
tion towards goal-directed activities. Depressed adults have more
difficulty improving their mood through positive memories than
healthy adults (Joormann & Siemer, 2004). Consequently, more
depressed adults may expect their daily gratitude intervention to
be useless and unnecessarily difficult. Accordingly, depressive
symptoms might prevent voluntary engagement.
While depressed individuals might seek out fewer change
opportunities on their own, social factors might increase motiva-
tion. Because depressed adults have a strong need for social
approval (Zuroff, Blatt, Sanislow, Bondi, & Pilkonis, 1999), social
norms can stimulate their motivation. Perceived social pressure
motivates depressed individuals to initiate healthy lifestyle
changes (Bandura, 1998). Depressed individuals are particularly
sensitive to social rejection (Nezlek, Kowalski, Leary, Blevins, &
Holgate, 1997). If they perceive participation in the intervention
as consistent with social norms, they might be more willing to par-
ticipate in hopes of gaining social approval.
Taken together, depressed adults possess beliefs that are incon-
sistent with enjoying or benefitting from gratitude exercises. How-
ever, based on prior knowledge on the power of social influence,
we explored whether depressed adults can be motivated by social
pressure to practice gratitude.
1.5. Sex and motivation for gratitude interventions
Societal gender norms might make women more willing to
engage in gratitude interventions. In general, women tend to
express positive emotions more often (LaFrance, Hecht, & Paluck,
2003). Expressions of particular emotions can result from norma-
tive social pressures and stereotypical beliefs about gender roles
(Brody, 1999). With regards to gratitude, women are more likely
than men to experience and express grateful feelings (Kashdan,
Mishra, Breen, & Froh, 2009). Men are often socially discouraged
to experience and express their gratitude, whereas women are
As a result of prescribed gender roles, we expected women to
show favorable attitude towards gratitude interventions. Women
derive more benefits from gratitude, and view gratitude expression
as more interesting (Kashdan et al., 2009; Kashdan, Mishra, Breen,
& Froh, 2009). For these reasons, we expected that women would
view gratitude interventions as more useful and view social norms
as more encouraging and thus, influential in decision to initiate a
gratitude intervention.
1.6. The present study
In the present study, we applied the TPB to predict intentions
and behavioral engagement in voluntary self-change interventions,
and provide explanations for when and why positive interventions
are instilled in daily life. We sought to extend prior work that iden-
tified factors influencing the start of a gratitude intervention: high
curiosity, few depressive symptoms, and being a woman
(Kaczmarek et al., 2013). First, we tested the degree to which util-
ity beliefs, social norm beliefs, and self-control beliefs predicted
intentions and the actual start of an online gratitude intervention.
Unlike prior research that assigns gratitude interventions
(Seligman et al., 2005), we informed participants about a voluntary
intervention and observed their subsequent actions. Second, we
used utility, social norm, and self-control beliefs as mediators to
explain how curiosity, depression, and sex influence intentions
and actual behavioral engagement in a gratitude intervention.
We hypothesized that utility beliefs, social norm beliefs, and self-
control beliefs would predict intentions. Upon including individual
differences, we hypothesized that curiosity, depression, and sex
would have an indirect effect on behavior through these motiva-
tional components and intentions.
166 L.D. Kaczmarek et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 66 (2014) 165–170
2. Method
2.1. Participants
Leaflets about a gratitude intervention were given to 257 partic-
ipants at their homes. Sample inclusion criterion was being
between ages 18 and 35. Data was collected in Poland by profes-
sional researchers from a certified firm specialized in public opin-
ion polls. National census data were used to achieve a sample that
was representative of the young adult population (Table 1). Until
the quota for a specific population center size (village, town under
50,000, etc.) was achieved, addresses within this population were
randomly selected using an automated algorithm. The researchers
visited this location and conducted the survey for these randomly
selected individuals. Volunteers received no incentives and pro-
vided written informed consent. We excluded 28 participants
who indicated obstacles for completing the online intervention
(leaving for vacation or no Internet access). The remaining 228 par-
ticipants (50.2% female) were between ages 18 and 37 (M= 26.97,
SD = 5.32). Expectation–maximization algorithm in SPSS 21 was
used to impute missing data (1.3%) that were random, Little’s
chi-square test,
(186) = 209.53, p= .11. This study was approved
by the institution’s Research Ethics Committee.
2.2. Procedure
Researchers visited participants’ residences and asked to com-
plete self-report questionnaires measuring curiosity and depres-
sion. Following this, participants received leaflets describing the
gratitude intervention. After reviewing the leaflet, participants
reported their utility, social norm, and self-control beliefs regard-
ing this intervention. They were given codes to access the web-
based intervention and informed that if they wanted to participate
they should do so within the next seven days. Finally, researchers
measured intentions toward the intervention. The questionnaires
were completed in the presence of the researchers who offered
instructions to ensure privacy throughout the study.
2.3. Measures
The 10-item Curiosity and Exploration Inventory–II (Kashdan
et al., 2009) included five items assessing seeking out new knowl-
edge and experiences (e.g., ‘‘Everywhere I go, I am out looking for
new things or experiences’’) and five assessing the willingness to
tolerate the novelty and uncertainty (e.g., ‘‘I am the type of person
who really enjoys the uncertainty of everyday life’’) using a 5-point
scale from 1 ‘‘very slightly or not at all’’ to 5 ‘‘extremely’’ (
= .86).
The 20-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale
(Radloff, 1977) measured depressive symptoms with statements
such as ‘‘I had crying spells’’ and their occurrence over the last
week using a scale ranging from 0 ‘‘rarely or none of the time (less
than 1 day)’’ to 3 ‘‘most of the time or all the time (5–6 days)’’
= .84).
We used four TPB generic scales to measure utility, social norm,
and self-control beliefs, as well as behavioral intentions. These
scales were formulated according to guidelines provided by TPB
methods experts (Francis et al., 2004) and used in prior studies
(Kaczmarek et al., 2014).
Utility beliefs, or attitudes about likely consequences of the grat-
itude intervention, were assessed with three 7-point bipolar eval-
uative adjective scales: ‘‘unpleasant–pleasant’’, ‘‘bad–good’’, and
‘‘useless–useful’’ (
= .89).
Social norm beliefs were assessed with three items about the
expectations of important others: ‘‘Most people who matter to
me would approve my doing this intervention’’, ‘‘Most people
important to me would say it is a good idea to perform this inter-
vention’’, and ‘‘Most people important to me, would want me to
perform this intervention’’. Participants responded on 7-point
scales from 1 = ‘‘completely agree’’ to 7 = ‘‘completely disagree’’
= .88).
Self-control beliefs were measured with three items about the
perceived effort required for the intervention: ‘‘Performing this
intervention would be very easy for me’’, ‘‘If I wanted to, I could
perform this intervention without any problem’’, and ‘‘I could per-
form this interventions without difficulty’’. Participants responded
on 7-point scales from 1 = ‘‘completely agree’’ to 7 = ‘‘completely
disagree’’ (
= .90).
Behavioral intentions were assessed with six items about specific
actions in the intervention preceded by the phrase ‘‘I intend to...’’
and followed by: ‘‘enter the intervention website’’, ‘‘read informa-
tion from the website’’, ‘‘learn more about this positive interven-
tion’’, ‘‘try out this positive interventions’’, ‘‘complete this
positive intervention’’, ‘‘introduce this positive intervention as a
part of my life-style’’; on 7-point scales from 1 = ‘‘completely
agree’’ to 7 = ‘‘completely disagree’’ (
= .94).
2.4. Gratitude intervention
Participants completed the intervention through a dedicated
website that provided detailed instructions—similar to the
approach used by Seligman et al. (2005): ‘‘Write about up to three
good things that happened over the last few days. You can write
about small things or large things. Do not worry about grammar
or spelling. Do not censor yourself.’’
At baseline, participants received an invitation with individual
pin-codes to access the intervention website. To produce the mea-
sure of behavior, a value of 1 (yes) was assigned to those partici-
pants who completed a daily entry, and 0 (no) for those who did
2.5. Analytical strategy
We used structural equation modeling with mPlus 7.11
(Muthén & Muthén, 2012) to test if behavior was predicted by
intentions, intentions by TPB components (utility, social norm,
and self-control beliefs), and TPB components by curiosity, depres-
sion, and sex. The WLSMV estimator was used to evaluate model fit
with a binary outcome (did the person initiate the gratitude inter-
vention?). Behavior (binary) was regressed on intention using pro-
bit regression with coefficients that represent the change in the z-
score of probit index for one unit change in the predictor; positive
values represent higher and negative values lower probability of
the intervention initiation. Linear regression was used for the
Table 1
Sociodemographic sample characteristics.
Place of residence Occupation
Village 81 35.5 Learning 18 7.9
<50,000 47 20.6 Student 24 10.5
50,000–200,000 37 16.2 Employed 144 63.2
200,000–500,000 19 8.3 Unemployed 16 7.0
>500,000 39 17.1 Houskeeping 24 10.5
Other 1 0.4
Education Interpersonal status
Elementary 13 5.7 Married 93 40.8
Vocational 25 11.0 Engaged 7 3.1
Vocational middle 52 22.8 Cohabitation 18 7.9
Secondary 43 18.9 Dating 16 7.0
Post secondary 15 6.6 Single 85 37.3
Higher incomplete 16 7.0 Other 6 2.6
Higher 62 27.2
L.D. Kaczmarek et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 66 (2014) 165–170 167
remaining paths. The residual variance of TPB variables was freed
to correlate amongst each other in line with TPB (Ajzen, 1991).
To evaluate the model fit we calculated RMSEA with values <.06
indicating good fit and CFI with values >.90 indicating acceptable
models (Bentler, 1990). We tested indirect effects as products of
unstandardized coefficients for specific paths using bias-corrected
bootstrapping with 10,000 samples; producing point estimates and
confidence intervals (CI) for effects. Significant indirect effects are
indicated by confidence intervals that do not include zero (Table 2).
3. Results
Descriptive statistics and inter-correlations are presented in
Table 1. The gratitude intervention was initiated by 8.3% (73.7%
women) participants. The structural model presented in Fig. 1 fit
the data well,
(196) = 252.78, p< .01, RMSEA = .04, CFI = .94.
Intentions predicted self-initiation of the intervention, b= .24, SE
b= .06, p< .001. Intentions were influenced by utility, b= .33, SE
b= .11, p< .01, social norm, b= .65, SE b= .14, p< .001, and self-
control beliefs, b= .35, SE b= .12, p< .01. Curiosity predicted utility,
b= .08, SE b= .02, p< .01, social norm, b= .13, SE b= .03, p< .001,
and self-control beliefs, b= .12, SE b= 03, p< .001. Depression
was related to greater social norm, b= .06, SE b= .02, p< .05, and
less self-control beliefs, b=.05, SE b= .02, p< .05. Sex was related
to utility, b= .56, SE b= .17, p< .001 and social norm beliefs, b= .53,
SE b= .20, p< .01.
Depression had no effect on utility, b=.06, p> .05, and sex had
no effect on self-control beliefs, b= .05, p> .05. Inclusion of these
paths had no effect on the model fit,
(2) = 1.84, p> .05, thus
they were removed. To explore potential partial mediations of
the TPB components, we compared a model with and without
direct paths (a more parsimonious model) from background vari-
ables to intention. Intention was not predicted directly by curios-
ity, b= .05, p> .05, depression, b= .01, p> .05, nor sex, b= .01,
p> .05, and these paths did not affect the model fit,
(3) = 0.90, p> .05, indicating a full mediation.
There was a significant total indirect effect of curiosity on inter-
vention initiation mediated by TPB components, b= 0.036, 95% CI
[0.002, 0.080]. This total indirect effect comprised three specific
indirect effects operating through utility, b= 0.006, 95% CI [0.001,
0.028], social norm, b= 0.020, 95% CI [0.002, 0.051], and self-con-
trol beliefs, b= 0.010, 95% CI [0.001, 0.029].
Depression had an enabling indirect effect on behavior through
social norm beliefs and intention, b= 0.009, 95% CI [0.001, 0.028]
and a marginally significant inhibiting indirect effect on behavior
through self-control and intention, b=0.004, 90% CI [0.013,
0.001]. These two opposing effects canceled each other out pro-
ducing a non-significant total indirect effect of depression on
behavior through TPB components, b= 0.005, 95% CI [0.007,
Women were more likely to initiate this intervention as
explained by TPB motivational components, a total indirect effect
Table 2
Descriptive statistics and inter-correlations among study variables.
1. Curiosity
2. Depression .18
3. Utility beliefs .13
4. Social norm beliefs .23
.09 .52
5. Self-control beliefs .35
6. Intention .23
.01 .51
7. Age .06 .03 .01 .09 .09 .09
8. Sex .19
.08 .22
.04 .14
9. Behavior .07 .04 .09 .13
32.74 12.81 13.94 11.76 14.06 19.56 26.97
6.87 9.63 3.60 3.69 3.69 11.01 5.33
34.02 12.02 13.14 11.03 13.91 17.98 26.60
6.38 9.03 3.38 3.79 3.86 10.19 5.34
31.41 13.62 14.73 12.47 14.22 21.12 27.34
7.12 10.20 3.65 3.45 3.53 11.65 5.33
Note: Sex coded as 0 = men, 1 = women. Behavior coded as 0 = not initiated, 1 = initiated.
p< .10.
p< .05.
p< .01.
social norm
utility beliefs
Fig. 1. A structural model for self-initiation of a gratitude intervention. Notes: standardized parameters. The percent of explained variance (R
) is presented in the top right
corner for each dependent variable. Sex coded as 0 = men, 1 = women.
p< .05,
p< .01,
p< .001.
168 L.D. Kaczmarek et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 66 (2014) 165–170
b= 0.128, 95% CI [0.011, 0.302]. This total indirect effect comprised
a significant indirect effect through social norm beliefs, b= 0.083,
95% CI [0.007, 0.234], and a marginally significant indirect effect
via utility beliefs and intention, b= 0.044, 90% CI [0.005, 0.143].
4. Discussion
This study demonstrated specific motivational pathways
through which curiosity, depression, and sex influence actions
toward becoming a more grateful person. Extending prior work
on self-initiated gratitude interventions in daily life (Kaczmarek
et al., 2013), we found that TPB components fully mediated
between individual differences and behavioral intentions. Stronger
intentions to perform a gratitude intervention resulted from a
favorable attitude, social norm beliefs, and high perceived self-con-
trol about the activity. Curiosity stimulated each aspect of motiva-
tion towards the intervention (i.e., utility, social norm, and self-
control beliefs). Depressed adults displayed conflicted motives.
They felt initiation of a gratitude intervention might be valued by
people important to them, but perceived the exercise as difficult
to perform. Women maintained stronger utility beliefs and per-
ceived their involvement in this intervention to be congruent with
social norms.
Including TPB components allowed for a fine-grained analysis of
the relationship between individual differences and responses to a
gratitude intervention opportunity. Noteworthy, curiosity influ-
enced each TPB components. Such consistency explains why curi-
ous individuals took advantage of an opportunity to exercise
their gratitude. Curious participants felt more in control of a task
matching their willingness to embrace novel activities (Kashdan
et al., 2009; Kashdan, Mishra, Breen, & Froh, 2009). They expected
more benefits from the intervention and encouragement from sig-
nificant others. Curiosity was a motivational attractor making indi-
viduals more responsive to a growth opportunity. This finding
seems promising because curiosity can be trained (Proyer, Ruch,
& Buschor, 2012). Our findings provide one explanation why peo-
ple who exercise their curiosity experience greater well-being.
Depressed individuals expected exercising gratitude to be bur-
densome. Yet, depressed participants were more likely to make
an effort if they felt others approved. This finding suggests that
for mildly depressed individuals, normative beliefs serve as a moti-
vational path for starting interventions. Notably, depression was
unrelated to utility beliefs indicating that depressed individuals
were unconvinced that gratitude interventions would improve
their life. With empirical evidence for the efficacy of positive inter-
ventions in alleviating depressing symptoms, it seems imperative
to promote psychoeducation about the benefits of gratitude
We found that women were more likely to initiate a gratitude
intervention. Women felt more certain that significant others in
their lives would approve of their behavior change. Men did not
expect similar benefits and in turn, did not endorse strong inten-
tions to start a gratitude intervention. Men also felt constrained
by social pressure. As gratitude leads to personal well-being and
contributes to society, it seems important to consider factors that
might encourage the cultivation of gratitude among men. Because
men did not perceive this gratitude intervention as more difficult
than women, addressing utility and social norm beliefs might
resolve this gender inequality.
Of the TPB model, social norm beliefs explain four times the var-
iance of intentions, utility and self-control beliefs. Clearly, when
deciding whether to engage in a gratitude intervention, individuals
mainly considered what other people might think. This phenome-
non reveals the gravity of directly targeting social contexts to max-
imize the probability that people embrace healthy interventions.
Our results correspond with experimental evidence suggesting
that social assistance enhances the effectiveness of positive inter-
ventions (Layous, Nelson, & Lyubomirsky, 2012).
One of the strengths of this study is that we approached a
diverse community sample from urban and small village settings.
Yet, some study limitations exist. We used lenient criteria to eval-
uate the self-initiation of behavior change. Participants only had to
complete one day of the gratitude intervention. A recent study that
used a similar approach found that the initiation of the interven-
tion was highly predictive of its completion (Kaczmarek et al.,
2014). Furthermore, we did not collect data on the benefits of
the intervention. Future work can explore the trajectory from first
learning about an intervention to initiation to benefits to the main-
tenance of benefits, and the individual differences that influence
each stage. Finally, although SEM allows for interpretation of cau-
sal effects (Pearl, 2012), experimental designs that directly manip-
ulate background variables (curiosity, depression) can provide
additional validity of the model.
Our results have practical implications. Given the individual
and collective benefits of gratitude, the present findings offer
insight into techniques that might persuade a large number of peo-
ple to experiment with gratitude in their lives. Our results suggest
that the effectiveness of an intervention depends on the extent to
which it influences a social norm – a robust precursor of gratitude
interventions and a mediator of intentions, trait curiosity, depres-
sive symptoms, and sex.
In sum, we integrated work on positive psychological interven-
tions with TPB to understand who works to become a grateful per-
son. We advanced understanding of the interplay between specific
individual differences and motivational factors that give rise to the
desire to enhance one’s gratitude.
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... Saidu (2019) attributed such inconsistences to differences in culture, customs, and practice, also stating that results differ across industries. Fahlenbrach (2009) and Kaczmarek, Kashdan, Drążkowski, Bujacz, and Goodman (2014) for example, reported that CEO ownership has negative impact on firm performance. Haniffa and Hudaib (2006) also found a significant negative relationship between managerial shareholding of the five largest shareholders in Malaysia, and ROA. ...
... Moreover, curiosity appears to initiate more proactive responses. For example, individuals with more trait curiosity displayed a higher likelihood to self-initiate participation in a novel intervention [8] and to seek relevant information for better job performance [9]. Taken together, it seems important to have curiosity in order to facilitate decisions and motivation for change. ...
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Objectives: Curiosity, or the desire for novel information and/or experience, is associated with improved well-being and more informed decisions, which has implications on older adults' (OAs') adoption of novel technologies. There have been suggestions that curiosity tends to decline with age. However, it was rarely studied under specific contexts, and there were relatively limited attempts to enhance OAs' curiosity. Under the theoretical framework of selective engagement theory, we examined age differences of curiosity in the context of learning a novel technology and investigated the moderating role of personal relevance. Method: This study utilized a pretest-posttest experimental design with a total of 50 younger adults (YAs) and 50 OAs from Hong Kong to measure their trait curiosity, perceived personal relevance, and state curiosity toward robots after interacting with a robot. Results: OAs showed significantly lower trait curiosity than YAs, but OAs showed a higher level of state curiosity toward a robot than YAs when they perceived an increase in personal relevance after interacting with the robot. Conclusion: Findings replicated previous findings that trait curiosity declined with age, but they also illustrated the distinctions between trait and state curiosity in the context of aging and highlighted the potential role of personal relevance in enhancing curiosity of OAs.
... For instance, people high in trait curiosity reported more frequent growth-oriented behaviors and searching for meaning in life on days when they were more curious (Kashdan & Steger, 2009). Curious individuals have more eagerness to self-initiate life-enhancing activities because they perceive them as easy, socially approved, and beneficial (Kaczmarek, Kashdan, Drążkowski, Bujacz, & Goodman, 2014). Moreover, curious individuals pay more attention to their activities and invest more cognitive resources into information processing . ...
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Curiosity is a personality trait that is inversely related to depression and positively related to subjective wellbeing. However, the relationship between curiosity and these two outcomes is still unclear which hampers our general understanding of well-being. Based on research within positive psychology that showed character strengths such as curiosity can indirectly decrease depression, we hypothesized that the inverse relationship between curiosity and depression would be mediated by subjective well-being. Two hundred and fifty seven participants, between 18 and 64 years old (M = 24.50, SD = 8.33) completed a web-based survey comprising: The Curiosity and Exploration Inventory - II, Center for Epidemiological Studies - Depression and the Steen Happiness Index. We found that well-being mediated the relationship between curiosity and depression. The results indicate that curious individuals tend to report higher levels of subjective well-being which, in turn, is associated with lower levels of depression. Our findings contribute to the understanding of positive results obtained from clinical samples that underwent positive psychotherapy of depression.
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Though gratitude research in organizational behavior (OB) is nascent, this emotion has a rich history in the social sciences. Research has shown gratitude to promote prosocial behaviors, encourage personal well-being, and foster interpersonal relationships. However, gratitude research has been siloed among these three outcomes of gratitude (moral, wellness, and relational). Similarly, past reviews of gratitude have focused on only one group of outcomes, one of its forms (trait, state, or expressed), or empirical findings without emphasis on the theoretical underpinnings. In contrast, this review recognizes that each type of gratitude, its functions, and outcomes are part of a single process model of gratitude. As such, in the current review we provide a comprehensive assessment of gratitude in the social sciences by distilling and organizing the literature per our process model of episodic gratitude. Then, we translate the insights for management scholars, highlighting possible differences and synergies between extant research and workplace gratitude thereby helping advance “gratitude science” in the workplace. In all, this review (a) examines definitions and operationalizations of gratitude and provides recommendations for organizational research; (b) proposes a process model of episodic workplace gratitude as a conceptual map to guide future OB research on gratitude; (c) reviews empirical gratitude research through the lens of our process model; and (d) discusses the current state of the literature, important differences for workplace gratitude, and future directions for organizational scholars.
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Objective The present research explores the path between work-related curiosity and positive affect. To justify this relationship, we rely on the conservation of resources theory (COR) and include performance as a mediator of the curiosity-positive affect path, such that curiosity was expected to stimulate performance, resulting in higher positive affect. We also aimed to explore whether the Dark Triad personality would moderate this mediating path. Methodology Three studies were conducted. Study 1 analyzed the indirect path of curiosity on positive affect through performance (n = 241). Study 2 resorted to two samples, one with participants in telework (n = 406), and the other one with participants in face-to-face work (n = 240), to explore the mediated link. Study 3 (n = 653) explored the moderating role of the Dark Triad traits (Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism) on the mediated relationship. Findings Study 1 demonstrated that curiosity boosted positive affect through performance. Study 2 showed that, when workers were in telework, the mediated relationship occurred, however the same did not happen in face-to-face work. Study 3 showed that Machiavellianism and psychopathy moderated the indirect effect of curiosity on positive affect through performance, in a way that it was present for individuals low on these traits, but not for individuals high on such traits. Narcissism did not moderate the mediated relationship. Implications We discuss the impact that curiosity may have on behavioral and affective consequences (performance and affect), and the role that personality may have on this relationship.
Gratitude is an emotion and state of being that recognizes a positive outcome as the result of external factors, thereby prompting internal and external responses of appreciation. As a positive psychology intervention (PPI), gratitude not only encourages positive affect and savoring of positive life experiences, it is associated with a reduction in psychological distress, improved sleep, better relationships, more engagement at work, and fewer physical ailments. In Islam, shukr (gratitude) is a fundamental virtue which, along with sabr (patience), provides a formula for Muslim wellbeing. In this chapter, we review the positive psychology literature on gratitude and define the concept of shukr from an Islamic perspective. We also provide suggestions for increasing gratitude through Islamically-integrated PPIs and discuss how such interventions can provide useful tools for Muslim wellness.
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Gratitude-based interventions are effective in facilitating positive relationships and increasing life satisfaction. However, for some individuals (e.g., with high levels of depression and low trait-gratitude) gratitude expression is threatening and rarely undertaken spontaneously. In this study, we expected to replicate this gratitude expression threat effect. Moreover, we aimed to understand psychophysiological mechanisms of this effect by accounting for cognitive, motivational, and physiological responses to gratitude expression in line with the biopsychosocial model of challenge and threat. One hundred ninety-six students (51% women) between the ages of 18 and 31 years old (M = 21.20, SD = 2.08) reported personality measures and completed a laboratory session where they expressed gratitude via text messages after reporting evaluation and motivation towards the task. Their cardiovascular reactivity was monitored continuously. After the session, participants were invited to continue a gratitude intervention for the next three weeks. We found that individuals with higher depression and lower trait-gratitude were less likely to initiate gratitude intervention. This effect was mediated by a cardiovascular marker of threat (total peripheral resistance) that inhibited motivation and behavior. In summary, we replicated and provided further evidence for the role of personality traits in predicting aversive responses to gratitude expression via interventions. These findings contribute to the person-activity fit recommendations.
Objective: Previous research suggests that online positive psychology interventions (PPI) are frequently used by individuals with symptoms of depression. We aimed to investigate differences in the way depressed and nondepressed users react to the content of an existing online PPI, originally designed for the general public. Method: In a retrospective online survey, we assessed discontinuation parameters, aspects of satisfaction with the program, and negative reactions among users of an online PPI. Results: Bivariate and multivariate analyses showed that, overall, reactions between depressed and nondepressed individuals were similar. Differences were observed concerning reasons for using and for discontinuing the program, the perception of exercises, and negative reactions. Conclusions: Although satisfaction with the program was high, it did not seem to fully meet users' expectations and might be more difficult to complete during episodes of depression. Implications of this study for the adaptation of online PPIs addressing depressed individuals are discussed.
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La gratitude a été définie comme une émotion sociale agréable qui génère de nombreuses conséquences positives sur la santé physique, mentale et sociale par le biais d’une augmentation de la capacité à apprécier les expériences, à percevoir des bénéfices même en cas d’adversité, et à développer, maintenir et améliorer les relations sociales. Toutefois, loin d’être un état dont les effets ne bénéficieraient qu’à l’individu, la gratitude engendre également des effets bénéfiques pour autrui, notamment par le biais de son expression : l’expression de gratitude génère un sentiment d’utilité et de valeur sociale chez l’interlocuteur, augmentant par-là le bien-être psychologique. Au-delà du simple effet de contagion émotionnelle, la gratitude entraîne une amélioration réciproque des relations, ce qui favorise le maintien ou l’amélioration des relations sociales constructives, auxquelles le bien-être est étroitement lié. Les mécanismes explicatifs des liens entre gratitude et bien-être individuel et collectif sont présentés, ainsi que des perspectives de recherche et d’applications pratiques.
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Research dealing with various aspects of* the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1985, 1987) is reviewed, and some unresolved issues are discussed. In broad terms, the theory is found to be well supported by empirical evidence. Intentions to perform behaviors of different kinds can be predicted with high accuracy from attitudes toward the behavior, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control; and these intentions, together with perceptions of behavioral control, account for considerable variance in actual behavior. Attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control are shown to be related to appropriate sets of salient behavioral, normative, and control beliefs about the behavior, but the exact nature of these relations is still uncertain. Expectancy— value formulations are found to be only partly successful in dealing with these relations. Optimal rescaling of expectancy and value measures is offered as a means of dealing with measurement limitations. Finally, inclusion of past behavior in the prediction equation is shown to provide a means of testing the theory*s sufficiency, another issue that remains unresolved. The limited available evidence concerning this question shows that the theory is predicting behavior quite well in comparison to the ceiling imposed by behavioral reliability.
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The objective was to assess the feasibility and acceptability of nine positive psychology exercises delivered to patients hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and to secondarily explore the relative impact of the exercises. Participants admitted to a psychiatric unit for suicidal ideation or behavior completed daily positive psychology exercises while hospitalized. Likert-scale ratings of efficacy (optimism, hopelessness, perceived utility) and ease of completion were consolidated and compared across exercises using mixed models accounting for age, missing data and exercise order. Overall effects of exercise on efficacy and ease were also examined using mixed models. Fifty-two (85.3%) of 61 participants completed at least one exercise, and 189/213 (88.7%) assigned exercises were completed. There were overall effects of exercise on efficacy (χ(2)=19.39; P=.013) but not ease of completion (χ(2)=11.64; P=.17), accounting for age, order and skipped exercises. Effect (Cohen's d) of exercise on both optimism and hopelessness was moderate for the majority of exercises. Exercises related to gratitude and personal strengths ranked highest. Both gratitude exercises had efficacy scores that were significantly (P=.001) greater than the lowest-ranked exercise (forgiveness). In this exploratory project, positive psychology exercises delivered to suicidal inpatients were feasible and associated with short-term gains in clinically relevant outcomes.
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A 4-week-long experiment examined the effects of a positive activity intervention in which students wrote about their “best possible selves” (BPS) once a week. We manipulated two factors that might affect the success of the happiness-increasing activity—whether the positive activity was administered online versus in-person and whether the participant read a persuasive peer testimonial before completing the activity. Our results indicated that the BPS activity significantly boosted positive affect and flow and marginally increased feelings of relatedness. No differences were found between participants who completed the positive activity online versus in-person. However, students who read a testimonial extolling the virtues of the BPS activity showed larger gains in well-being than those who read neutral information or completed a control task. The results lend legitimacy to online self-administered happiness-increasing activities and highlight the importance of participants’ beliefs in the efficacy of such activities for optimum results.
The effect of a grateful outlook on psychological and physical well-being was examined. In Studies 1 and 2, participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 experimental conditions (hassles, gratitude listing, and either neutral life events or social comparison); they then kept weekly (Study 1) or daily (Study 2) records of their moods, coping behaviors, health behaviors, physical symptoms, and overall life appraisals. In a 3rd study, persons with neuromuscular disease were randomly assigned to either the gratitude condition or to a control condition. The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the 3 studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.
Do women express their feelings more than men? Popular stereotypes say they do, but in this provocative book, Leslie Brody breaks with conventional wisdom. Integrating a wealth of perspectives and research--biological, sociocultural, developmental--her work explores the nature and extent of gender differences in emotional expression, as well as the endlessly complex question of how such differences come about. Nurture, far more than nature, emerges here as the stronger force in fashioning gender differences in emotional expression. Brody shows that whether and how men and women express their feelings varies widely from situation to situation and from culture to culture, and depends on a number of particular characteristics including age, ethnicity, cultural background, power, and status. Especially pertinent is the organization of the family, in which boys and girls elicit and absorb different emotional strategies. Brody also examines the importance of gender roles, whether in the family, the peer group, or the culture at large, as men and women use various patterns of emotional expression to adapt to power and status imbalances. Lucid and level-headed, Gender, Emotion, and the Family offers an unusually rich and nuanced picture of the great range of male and female emotional styles, and the variety of the human character. Reviews of this book: Gender, Emotion, and the Family focuses on gender differences in the experience and expression of emotion...[Brody] has gathered an amazing amount of data from innumerable studies...[and gives] a balanced account of the effect of environmental variables on the development of emotion. --Lucy Horwitz, Boston Book Review Reviews of this book: Finally, an accurate and well-balanced discussion of topics that are on everybody's mind. Brody integrates research on the socialization of violence in boys and of the caretaking role for girls. Both this book and actual scientific research strongly support the role of nurture rather than nature in gender socialization...[A] highly recommended book. --F. Smolucha, Choice Reviews of this book: Drawing on a wealth of information, [Leslie Brody] illuminates the ways in which men and women, boys and girls, develop and express emotions in the context of the family...This in-depth research addresses many issues, from power in relationships to the physiological expression of emotion; evidence of contradictory findings is detailed. This is a valuable addition to the ever-changing frontiers of behavior research. --Margaret Cardwell, Library Journal Reviews of this book: Beyond the main points about the complexities and contingencies of gender differences and their development, the book contains accounts of many, many fascinating studies and intriguing points of view. . . . Brody ultimately succeeds in articulating a comprehensive, thoughtful, and intellectually rigorous review of the research literature on gender differences in emotional expression, from a feminist empiricist perspective. This is an important book to own . . . . a valuable reference for researchers and professionals. --Contemporary Psychology Brody has formidable mastery of this burgeoning field. Gender, Emotion, and the Family offers new theoretical insights for lay readers and fellow scholars alike. Highly readable, responsible, and original, this will be the major work on the socialization of emotion for a long time to come. --Judith A. Hall, Northeastern University A beautifully written text that integrates theory and research in a sophisticated yet highly readable way. Brody examines the development of emotional experience and expression in the family and the intimate connections between emotion, familial relationships, and gender. Brody's tremendous breadth of scholarship shows in every chapter, and her thoughtful, comprehensive, and insightful responses to the complex questions in the field are a must read for students and scholars alike. --Amy G. Halberstadt, North Carolina State University Leslie Brody provides a careful evaluation of the research data on precisely what the gender differences are--and are not--in emotional experience and expression, but that is only the first strength of her book. With an original and complex transactional theory, she shows how physiological, relational and cultural factors interact in creating gender differences in emotion, and reminds us how peculiar it is to try--as psychologists have!-- to make much of any single factor. Gender, Emotion, and the Family outlines a compelling research agenda that will move the next generation of empirical studies to a new and much more exciting level. --Abigail Stewart, Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies, University of Michigan An invaluable resource for researchers on all aspects of the psychology and sociology of gender, Gender, Emotion, and the Family comprehensively synthesizes and re-analyzes the enormous research literature on supposed gender differences in emotional expression. Leslie Brody offers a clear and compelling critique of the widespread belief that males and females have essentially different emotional styles. Arguing that apparent gender differences in emotion are closely related to gender differences in dominance and power, Brody illuminates the great diversity of experience and behavior found among members of the same sex, and reminds us of the powerful role played by stereotypes in dictating emotions that men and women should display, and the pressures they feel to conform to those stereotypes. --Elizabeth Aries, Amherst College Brody has formidable mastery of this burgeoning field. Gender, Emotion, and the Family offers new theoretical insights for lay readers and fellow scholars alike. Highly readable, responsible, and original, this will be the major work on the socialization of emotion for a long time to come. --Judith A. Hall, Northeastern University Leslie Brody provides a careful evaluation of the research data on precisely what the gender differences are--and are not--in emotional experience and expression, but that is only the first strength of her book. With an original and complex transactional theory, she shows how physiological, relational and cultural factors interact in creating gender differences in emotion, and reminds us how peculiar it is to try--as psychologists have!-- to make much of any single factor. Gender, Emotion, and the Family outlines a compelling research agenda that will move the next generation of empirical studies to a new and much more exciting level. --Abigail Stewart, University of Michigan
The role of causality in SEM research is widely perceived to be, on the one hand, of pivotal methodological importance and, on the other hand, confusing, enigmatic and controversial. The confusion is vividly portrayed, for example, in the influential report of Wilkinson
Gratitude interventions tend to be effective at increasing well-being, yet they are not commonly initiated and completed. Prior experimental evidence suggests that provision of social support (i.e., supportive and encouraging statements) increases the effectiveness of positive psychological interventions. The type of support, however, may differentially impact motivation. In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that instructional support (i.e., advice about how to best conduct the intervention) increases the desirability of a gratitude intervention and the probability of initiation. 274 participants received leaflets about a voluntary, web-based gratitude intervention. Half of the participants were randomly assigned to receive instructional support in which they read testimonials on how to best conduct the intervention. Next, participants were asked about utility beliefs (perceived usefulness), social norm beliefs (what others would think about their participation), self-control beliefs (being able to cope with challenges), and intentions to participate in the intervention. Contrary to our hypothesis, provision of instructional support decreased desirability of the gratitude intervention, which indirectly hindered intentions to participate in the intervention. Thus, informing recipients about how to navigate an intervention had a paradoxical effect. It may be more effective to allow participants to recognize and handle intervention challenges on their own.