Article

Why do people prefer gratitude journaling over gratitude letters? The influence of individual differences in motivation and personality on web-based interventions

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

Gratitude interventions can be divided into those that explicitly cultivate appreciative feelings (gratitude journaling) and those that strengthen relationships (gratitude letter). There is an absence of research on the motivation to participate in different gratitude interventions. Using an experimental approach, we compared two gratitude interventions on underlying motivations for starting and completion. We provided students (N = 904) with an opportunity to start a web-based intervention (gratitude journaling or letter). Subsequently, we measured the perceived usefulness of the intervention, social norms related to using this intervention, their self-control, and intention to start the intervention. Results showed that keeping a gratitude journal and writing a gratitude letter to someone were perceived as equally useful and socially acceptable. Yet participants felt less efficacious in writing a gratitude letter, which in turn decreased self-initiation and the actual completion of the intervention. As for individual differences, people with greater dispositional gratitude expected the intervention to be easier, more beneficial, and socially acceptable; meaningful sex differences also emerged. Our findings provide new insights into underlying motivations and individual differences that influence the initiation and efficacy of gratitude interventions.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Despite being among the most effective, interpersonal gratitude interventions are among the most demanding (Huffman et al. 2014;Kaczmarek et al. 2015). Communicating gratitude is likely to induce mixed emotions because grateful individuals implicitly admit that they are dependent on others (Wood et al. 2010). ...
... Interpersonal gratitude interventions, such as communicating gratitude via text messages, e-mails, or letters (Lambert et al. 2010;Kaczmarek et al. 2015) are among the most effective in increasing well-being (Seligman et al. 2005;Huffman et al. 2014). At the same time, they are the least preferred interventions, presumably because they are demanding (Parks et al. 2012). ...
... Some individuals are likely to embrace this opportunity, for some it may be neutral, and some may feel reluctant to engage in this kind of activity. These types of responding indicate the range of motivation direction and intensity towards the initiation of gratitude interventions (Huffman et al. 2014;Kaczmarek et al. 2015). Individuals forced to perform an intervention regardless of their resources (a person-activity misfit) are likely to experience the threat state. ...
Article
Full-text available
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.
... Furthermore, as shown by Jans-Beken et al. (2017), gratitude is not uniformly distributed across demographic groups but associated with age, gender, education level, and employment status, and the effects of gratitude (interventions) on mental health may be in part reducible to these demographic factors. In the majority of the studies, there was an overrepresentation of female participants that may have influenced findings, given that women tend to have higher trait gratitude and derive greater benefits from gratitude interventions than men (Kaczmarek et al., 2015;Kashdan, Mishra, Breen, & Froh, 2009;Krause, 2006;Sommers & Kosmitzki, 1988), whereas on the other hand they are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety (Rosenfield & Mouzon, 2013). The relationship between positive traitssuch as gratitudeand well-and ill-being may in addition vary as a function of age (Shallcross, Ford, Floerke, & Mauss, 2013). ...
... Both interventions are perceived as useful and socially acceptable, but the writing of gratitude letters intervention is perceived as less effective for enhancing mental well-being than gratitude journaling, and this decreases relative initiation and completion rates for this intervention. Gratitude journaling is a longer lasting intervention with a possibly more longterm impact on mental well-being, whereas writing gratitude letters as an intervention is a more social intervention with a more intense but possibly also more short-lived impact (Kaczmarek et al., 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
A copy of the article can be downloaded from my website publications.lilianjansbeken.nl. The purpose of this review is to extend previous review findings by providing an updated overview of the literature on the connection of gratitude to human health, specifically focusing on experimental study findings, to better understand possible causation, complemented with findings from multi-wave longitudinal studies.
... Although most gratitude interventions have been conducted using non-clinical samples (Wood et al., 2010), gratitude interventions have also been found to be effective with clinically distressed samples, such as individuals' impaired body image (Geraghty, Wood, & Hyland, 2010a, 2010b. Most gratitude interventions can be classified into one of two types-writing letters expressing gratitude to another person and listing things one is grateful for (Kaczmarek et al., 2015). However, gratitude letter writing might be a particularly good fit for psychotherapy clients because it has the added advantage of focusing individuals' attention on positive interpersonal connections. ...
... Nevertheless, some participants may have struggled with the gratitude writing intervention. A recent study found that college students felt less efficacious about writing a gratitude letter as compared to keeping a gratitude journal, which in turn predicted lower rates of completing the gratitude letter writing intervention (Kaczmarek et al., 2015). Therefore, future research could examine whether keeping a gratitude journal (listing things one is grateful for) might yield similar mental health benefits for psychotherapy clients relative to gratitude letter writing, while reducing the attrition rate. ...
Article
Full-text available
Although the past decade has witnessed growing research interest in positive psychological interventions (PPIs), their potential as adjunctive interventions for psychotherapy remains relatively unexplored. Therefore, this article expands the frontiers of PPI research by reporting the first randomized controlled trial to test a gratitude writing adjunctive intervention for psychotherapy clients. Participants were 293 adults seeking university-based psychotherapy services. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (a) control (psychotherapy only), (b) a psychotherapy plus expressive writing, and (c) a psychotherapy plus gratitude writing. Participants in the gratitude condition wrote letters expressing gratitude to others, whereas those in the expressive writing condition wrote about their deepest thoughts and feelings about stressful experiences. About 4 weeks as well as 12 weeks after the conclusion of the writing intervention, participants in the gratitude condition reported significantly better mental health than those in the expressive and control conditions, whereas those in the expressive and control conditions did not differ significantly. Moreover, lower proportions of negative emotion words in participants’ writing mediated the positive effect of condition (gratitude versus expressive writing) on mental health. These findings are discussed in light of the use of gratitude interventions as adjunctive interventions for psychotherapy clients.
... Previous studies revealed that compared with men, women are more motivated to participate in gratitude interventions because they expect gratitude expression to be more useful and socially desirable (Kaczmarek, Kashdan, et al., 2014;Kaczmarek et al., 2015). This finding complements general evidence that women are more likely to feel and express gratitude and derive more benefits from gratitude expression (Kashdan et al., 2009). ...
Article
Full-text available
Men are less grateful than women and less likely to intentionally enhance gratitude via interventions. Yet, little is known if sex differences in gratitude result from biological influences such as prenatal testosterone and estrogen levels – hormones that control the development of sex-specific characteristics. In two studies, we examined how sex and second-to-fourth digit ratio (2D:4D) – an indicator of prenatal sex hormones exposure – predicts gratitude intervention use. In the first study, we tested whether lower 2D:4D (i.e., higher masculinization) would suppress gratitude intervention use. Contrary to expectations, after controlling for sex, women and men with more male-type fingers were more motivated and likely to complete the intervention. In the second study, we replicated these findings using a larger sample and different 2D:4D metric. Our research suggests that motivation towards gratitude interventions is facilitated by female sex and masculinity. These findings provide initial evidence for the biological grounding of individual differences in gratitude behavior.
... Gratitude is an essential part of human prosocial behavior. A number of recent studies have shown the benefits of gratitude interventions on well being, mainly using gratitude letter writing or keeping a gratitude diary, both of which can be effective (Kaczmarek et al., 2015). Gratitude interventions have recently been shown as effective at increasing well being in students (Flinchbaugh et al., 2012), those with chronic pain (Baxter et al., 2012), depression (Cheng et al., 2015), and older adults (Killen and Macaskill, 2015). ...
... This instability highlights the important potential that the moderation processes might have on the effects of gratitude on well-being. Based on the present findings, we suggest that gratitude intervention, similar to writing a gratitude journal, (Kaczmarek et al. 2015) should include some components of mindfulness, such as self-compassion writing (Mosewich et al. 2013), because it may increase the effects on athletes' well-being. In other words, gratitude practices can be integrated with mindful awareness components to significantly increase the effects of gratitude; however, this hypothesis requires further investigation. ...
Article
Full-text available
Life satisfaction is a critical index of well-being and is well documented in the literature as a means of protecting athletes from stress. However, minimal research has focused on the factors that contribute to life satisfaction in sports. Accordingly, we adopted the positive psychology perspective and proposed that gratitude would relate to athletes’ life satisfaction. Additionally, we further suggested that mindfulness would strengthen the relationship between gratitude and athletes’ life satisfaction. Athletes completed measurements, and the results, which indicated that athletes with higher levels of gratitude exhibited increased life satisfaction when they had higher levels of mindfulness, supported our expectations. The implications and applications are discussed in terms of mindfulness.
... Sus resultados muestran que los niveles de bienestar subjetivo aumentaron y se redujeron los niveles de depresión. En esta misma línea, Kaczmarek et al. (2015) encontraron que escribir un diario de Gratitud produce un incremento mayor en el bienestar que otro tipo de entrenamiento en esta misma fortaleza. De acuerdo con los trabajos previos y con nuestros propios resultados, parece interesante realizar una intervención dirigida a las personas mayores en la que se entrenen las fortalezas que mejor predicen el bienestar con el objetivo de mejorarlo y potenciarlo. ...
Article
Full-text available
En las últimas décadas se ha incrementado el estudio de las fortalezas psicológicas como factor que afecta al bienestar. Éstas pueden ser consideradas como un subconjunto de rasgos de personalidad a los que se otorga un valor moral, definiéndose como cualidades naturales que las personas están intrínsecamente motivada a utilizar porque aumentan la calidad de vida. Las investigaciones demuestran que actúan como factores de protección y prevención de la psicopatología y de los problemas de conducta en las diferentes etapas evolutivas. Hay fortalezas que son más relevantes en personas mayores y su entrenamiento estaría dirigido a influir sobre el comportamiento y el funcionamiento emocional con el objetivo de aumentar la satisfacción con la vida. En el presente trabajo se analizan las fortalezas que predominan en adultos mayores y se propone un programa de intervención para potenciarlas con la finalidad de mejorar su salud y calidad de vida. Se trata de una propuesta novedosa ya que, hasta el momento, las intervenciones en este ámbito han ido encaminadas a paliar diferentes problemas tanto de manera aislada como complemento de terapias de tipo más tradicional pero no como prevención de la aparición de trastornos habituales en edades avanzadas.
... Further studies could investigate the effects of gratitude on suicidal ideation among children. As it may be more challenging to work with children with suicidal ideation due to their lack of motivation in help-seeking, practitioners should develop relevant knowledge and skills for particular target groups, instead of implementing the same type of gratitude activities for diverse populations (Kaczmarek et al. 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
Suicidal ideation is defined as the thoughts about engaging in suicidal-related behaviors. Very few studies have been conducted on children’s suicidal ideation as there is a biased perception that suicidal behavior under the age of 12 is scarce. However, suicide is the leading cause of death among young children. Child suicidal ideation is predictive of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in adulthood. Association between certain parenting styles and suicidal ideation have been found in empirical studies. However, little is known about the role of parenting and suicidal ideation in Chinese young children. We examined whether gratitude can reduce the risk of suicide by moderating the association between parenting styles and child suicidal ideation. We recruited 447 Chinese children (53.3% female; mean age = 10.06, SD = 1.76) to participate in a survey. Perceived parenting style (warmth/accepting, dominating, and autonomy granting), gratitude, and suicidal ideation were assessed using self-reported measures. We found that all three perceived parental styles were significantly associated with child suicidal ideation. Further, gratitude was found to have a significant moderating effect on suicidal ideation, across the analysis of the three perceived parenting styles. This suggests that gratitude may be adopted in preventive and clinical interventions so that children at risk can benefit from reducing the negative effects of ineffective parenting styles and suicidal ideation.
... Another promising approach is to compare different types of gratitude exercises beyond the two tested here. For example, the exercise of counting one's blessings (e.g., for a sunny day or a smile from a stranger) could be less aversive for depressed individuals or for certain cultural groups than writing a full-fledged gratitude letter [91]. Some individuals may feel comfortable writing about blessings, which can be found in many small day-to-day encounters, but experience discomfort writing about the types of larger deeds towards which gratitude letters are typically targeted. ...
Article
Full-text available
Although a great deal of research has tested the longitudinal effects of regularly practicing gratitude, much less attention has been paid to the emotional landscape directly following engagement in gratitude exercises. In three studies, we explored the array of discrete emotions people experience after being prompted to express or recall gratitude. In Studies 1 and 2, two different gratitude exercises produced not only greater feelings of gratitude relative to two positive emotion control conditions (i.e., recalling relief), but also higher levels of other socially relevant states like elevation, connectedness, and indebtedness. In a third study, conducted in both the U.S. and S. Korea, we compared a gratitude exercise to another positive emotion elicitation (i.e., recalling a kind act) and to a neutral task, and again found that the gratitude exercise prompted greater gratitude, elevation, indebtedness, and guilt, but no more embarrassment or shame, than the two comparison conditions. Additionally, in all three studies, emodiversity and cluster analyses revealed that gratitude exercises led to the simultaneous experience of both pleasant and unpleasant socially-relevant states. In sum, although it may seem obvious that gratitude exercises would evoke grateful, positive states, a meta-analysis of our three studies revealed that gratitude exercises actually elicit a mixed emotional experience—one that simultaneously leads individuals to feel uplifted and indebted. © 2017 Layous et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
... For those who were not born with the natural, dispositional "gift of gratitude," the news is good. Gratitude interventions are most effective in raising satisfaction with life for people who score low on dispositional gratitude (Davis et al. 2015;Harbaugh 2014;Kaczmarek et al. 2015;Rash et al. 2011;Sin and Lyubomirsky 2009). ...
Chapter
The state of health and life satisfaction are influenced not only by social and demographic factors, but also by a number of other factors: the rate of occurrence of sickness and health problems, lifestyle, how leisure time is spent, a balanced diet, ecological conditions, etc. In this research the explanatory variables were chosen such as: 1. demographic variable (sex, age groups of the respondents); 2. variable, describing an objective state of health: presence (absence) of long-term problems with health and presence (absence) of long-term or chronic diseases; 3. variable, describing lifestyle: quality of sleep, way of spending leisure time and feeding culture. The paper studies the influence of social and demographic factors (age, gender group, lifestyle, presence or absence of chronic diseases) on parameters of self-assessed health and life satisfaction by the population of Poland. The aggregated results of the sociological inquiry carried out in regions of Poland in 2004 were used as the statistical basis. For modelling the tobit models with left and right censoring limit points were used. The significant influence of age and gender groups, and factor of presence (absence) of chronic diseases on indexes of self-assessed health was shown by econometric analysis, the relationship between life satisfaction of the respondents, their state of health and physical activity was analysed. Taking the importance of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), occupying the first place among the chronic diseases of the population, and being of the leading causes of death, into account, we have analyzed the influence of age, gender and other factors, relating to the lifestyle of the respondents, on the incidence of CVD in Poland.
... For instance, a person who has poor interpersonal skills might not have the ability to write a letter that expresses genuine gratitude. Indeed, despite the benefits of gratitude letter writing (Seligman et al., 2005), people tend to feel less self-efficacious about this activity, which in turn decreased the rate of participation, relative to gratitude journaling (Kaczmarek et al., 2015). Moreover, in the absence of face-toface encouragement to persevere in these gratitude activities, the attrition rate for participation in some gratitude interventions can be quite high. ...
Article
Full-text available
Despite mounting interest in the psychology of gratitude, scholarship on the clinical applications of gratitude to psychotherapy has been fairly limited. Therefore, the aims of this article are to describe the Gratitude Group Program, the first known therapeutic model to focus on the cultivation of gratitude as its core goal, as well as to provide preliminary evidence for its effectiveness. Grounded primarily in positive psychology, but also in an assimilative integration of cognitive-behavioral, existential, narrative, and interpersonal perspectives, the Gratitude Group Program is a psychoeducation therapeutic group intervention that addresses diverse facets of gratitude. Evidence from a preliminary, one-group, prepost design study showed a significant and clinically meaningful decrease in psychological distress and increase in state gratitude, satisfaction with life, and meaning in life among college students who participated in the group program. Moreover, the effect sizes for decreases in psychological distress at the conclusion of the group program (d = 1.19) and 30 days later (d = 1.37) are comparable to that found in previous research on psychotherapy in university counseling centers. The practical implications of these findings are discussed.
... Numerous studies have shown that expressing gratitude can boost psychological and physical well-being (Hill, Allemand, & Roberts, 2013;Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). Expressing gratitude to another person (e.g., by writing a thankful letter) or even privately to oneself (e.g., by journaling about one's fortunes in a diary) can both be effective (Kaczmarek et al., 2015). For example, in a 2-week intervention study with a clinical sample of adults waiting to receive psychological treatment, daily journaling of things they were grateful for increased lifesatisfaction and reduced anxiety, as did daily journaling of the kind acts they had committed (Kerr, O'Donovan, & Pepping, 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we provide a review of the latest research on behavioral and cognitive strategies that cultivate resilience and change the brain. We begin with a primer on the neuroscience of emotions and stress and how the brain regulates them. Then we focus on two major pathways to building a resilient brain: (a) behavioral pathways (learnable behaviors and habits) and (b) cognitive pathways (learnable cognitive/linguistic strategies). For the former, we review behaviors that can directly down-regulate fear and stress, including facing fears and controlling stressors. We also review behaviors that can boost physical health and therefore resilience; these strategies include sleeping, exercising, and dietary restriction. In addition, we review social behaviors that can boost resilience, such as connecting socially and expressing gratitude. For the latter, we review cognitive pathways to resilience. These include emotion-regulation strategies such as verbal expression of emotion, affect labeling, and cognitive reappraisal. We also discuss cognitive-training approaches, including cognitive-bias modification, mindfulness training, and cognitive therapy. Finally, we discuss issues related to coaching resilience, including the neural bases of expectation, growth mind-set, and self-affirmation, three factors that can influence learning and effectiveness of the various strategies discussed in the article, and we close with a summary of the current understanding of resilience and the human brain.
... Although research thus far has focused on exploring the relationships between gratitude and athlete well-being, no known studies to date have examined the implementation of a gratitude PPI with an athletic population. Gratitude PPIs typically involve activities such as writing letters, writing lists of grateful events, and expressing gratitude behavior (Kaczmarek et al., 2015;Wood et al., 2010). Gratitude lists have been used most often in the intervention literature, as this is a simple technique that may be used in the clinical setting and is easy for participants to continue practicing in the future (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). ...
Article
Full-text available
This study explored the implementation of a 90-minute “Attitude of Gratitude” workshop among 51 NCAA Division I student-athletes. Levels of state gratitude, psychological distress, life satisfaction, sport satisfaction, athlete burnout, and perceived available support in sport were measured the week before, immediately after, and 4-weeks post-intervention. Significant increases in well-being (state gratitude, sport satisfaction, social support) and significant decreases in ill-being (psychological distress, athlete burnout) were observed post-intervention. Results of this pilot study warrant further exploration of gratitude interventions in applied sport psychology. Limitations, practical implications, and recommendations for future research are discussed in light of the current findings.
... Quantitative and qualitative studies of the antecedents and consequences of gratitude (Reckart et al. 2017) have shown that gratitude tends to be associated with personality traits (McCullough et al. 2001;Szcześniak et al. 2020a), various dimensions of psychological wellbeing (Wood et al. 2009;Lin 2015aLin , 2015bVoci et al. 2019), physical health (Kaczmarek et al. 2015;Krause et al. 2015;Lavelock et al. 2016;O'Connell and Killeen-Byrt 2018;Gallagher et al. 2020), quality of social relationships (Algoe et al. 2008;Layous and Lyubomirsky 2014), and religiosity (Lambert et al. 2009). With respect to the latter correlate, there is some evidence that highly religious people are inclined to be more grateful than their less religious counterparts (Kraus et al. 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
In comforting or distressing circumstances, individuals tend to have various perceptions of themselves. It seems that religious comfort and religious distress correlate differently with people’s self-esteem. Since the relationship between religiosity and self-esteem is not only direct but can be mediated by other factors that are recognized as buffers against adverse situations, our main goal was to verify whether dispositional gratitude may have an indirect effect on the association between both variables. The research involved data from 254 participants aged 18 to 25 (M = 21.24; SD = 2.09) and included 192 women (76%) and 62 men (24%). To measure the title variables, we used: the Religious Comfort and Strain Scale (RCSS), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), and the Gratitude Questionnaire (GQ-6). The results showed that people who consider religion as a source of comfort express positive attitudes toward the self and recognize others’ kindness, as well. In contrast, people who consider religiosity as a cause of fear, stress, and internal strain tend to display a lower subjective sense of personal worth and lower appreciation of the positivity around them. Moreover, gratitude had a mediatory effect on the relationships between religious comfort/negative emotions toward God and self-esteem.
... This increase in well-being was also apparent to the family of the participants and benefited their sleeping habits (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). A similar benefit was also seen when gratitude journaling was completed at home without supervision (Kaczmarek et al., 2015), while a six-week gratitude-oriented programme for people living with osteoarthritis showed improvements in pain, stiffness and physical function up to six months after programme completion (Hausmann et al., 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
A study was conducted to test an online mindfulness and gratitude intervention for self-management of arthritis. It was hypothesized that the intervention would decrease pain anxiety, intensity and interference, fear of movement, and increase pain self-efficacy for a group of self-referred people with arthritis. The intervention consisted of four once-weekly programmes which included animated guides, audio guided mindfulness exercises and a gratitude programme. One hundred and fifty-one people enrolled in the study. Data from 81 people who completed the trial and questionnaires was analysed. Pain anxiety, pain interference, pain intensity, fear of movement and pain self-efficacy were all improved by the intervention as hypothesized. This pilot study lends support to both gratitude and mindfulness being appropriate interventions for physical health conditions and demonstrates how they can be used in combination. Additionally, this shows the potential of online delivery for positive health interventions.
... Difficulties in writing a gratitude letter relate to the interpersonal nature of this task, because being grateful towards someone entails being dependent on that person and, in turn, this can invoke a sense of vulnerability that makes the writer feel not at ease (Kaczmarek et al., 2015). In this way, the psychological costs of writing a gratitude letter are greater than expressing it in a private journal. ...
Article
Full-text available
Writing Therapy (WT) is defined as a process of investigation about personal thoughts and feelings using the act of writing as an instrument, with the aim of promoting self-healing and personal growth. WT has been integrated in specific psychotherapies with the aim of treating specific mental disorders (PTSD, depression, etc.). More recently, WT has been included in several Positive Interventions (PI) as a useful tool to promote psychological well-being. This narrative review was conducted by searching on scientific databases and analyzing essential studies, academic books and journal articles where writing therapy was applied. The aim of this review is to describe and summarize the use of WT across various psychotherapies, from the traditional applications as expressive writing, or guided autobiography, to the phenomenological-existential approach (Logotherapy) and, more recently, to the use of WT within Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Finally, the novel applications of writing techniques from a positive psychology perspective will be analyzed. Accordingly, the applications of WT for promoting forgiveness, gratitude, wisdom and other positive dimensions will be illustrated. The results of this review show that WT yield therapeutic effects on symptoms and distress, but it also promotes psychological well-being. The use of writing can be a standalone treatment or it can be easily integrated as supplement in other therapeutic approaches. This review might help clinician and counsellors to apply the simple instrument of writing to promote insight, healing and well-being in clients, according to their specific clinical needs and therapeutic goals.
... Expressing gratitude can boost psychological and physical well-being (Hill et al., 2013;Seligman et al., 2005). Effective gratitude strategies include expressing gratitude to another person (e.g., by writing a gratitude letter) or privately to oneself (e.g., by journaling about one's fortunes in a diary) (Kaczmarek et al., 2015). For example, in a 2-week intervention study of adults waiting to receive psychological treatment, daily journaling of things they were grateful for reduced anxiety and increased optimism and life-satisfaction, as did daily journaling of the kind acts they had committed (Kerr et al., 2015). ...
Article
Although research has identified dozens of behavioral and psychosocial strategies for boosting resilience in adults, little is known about the common underlying pathways. A comprehensive review of these strategies using an affective neuroscience approach indicates three distinct general routes to resilience (Fig. 1A): 1) down-regulating the negative (e.g., exposure, cognitive reappraisal) by reducing distress-related responses of the amygdala, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and autonomic nervous system; 2) up-regulating the positive (e.g., optimism, social connectedness) by activating mesostriatal reward pathways, which in turn can buffer the effects of stress; and 3) transcending the self (e.g., mindfulness, religious engagement) by reducing activation in the default mode network, a network associated with self-reflection, mind-wandering, and rumination. Some strategies (e.g., social support) can boost resilience via more than one pathway. Under- or over-stimulation of a pathway can result in vulnerability, such as over-stimulation of the reward pathway through substance abuse. This tripartite model of resilience-building is testable, accounts for a large body of data on adult resilience, and makes new predictions with implications for practice.
... Similarly, gratitude and religiosity research displays sex differences. A series of studies predominantly shows that women obtain higher scores than men on the indexes of gratefulness (Kashdan et al. 2009), thankfulness (Kaczmarek et al. 2015), religiousness (Francis 1992;Roth and Kroll 2007), and spirituality (Flannelly and Galek 2006). life can influence the relationship between downstream reciprocity and gratitude. ...
Article
Full-text available
Downstream indirect reciprocity (DIR) is a behavior taking the form of a reaction to an individual’s kindness or reluctance towards a third party. The literature shows that the concept of DIR may be understood in many different systems of assessing an individual’s social exchange, retributive justice, religious belief systems, rudimentary moral systems, and general philosophical treatment, as well as from a natural selection and evolutionary approach. Given the importance of an empirically based examination of DIR, the aim of the current research carried out through Studies 1–5 was fourfold: (a) develop a reliable and psychometrically sound Downstream Indirect Reciprocity Scale (DIRS); (b) establish and examine the factor structure of the DIRS and its statistical properties, using exploratory factor analysis (EFA) (Study 1); (c) assess the relationship between the observed measures and latency factor of DIR through confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) (Studies 2–5); (d) measure the internal consistency and nomological validity (Studies 2–5). Although the first assumption consisted in constructing a questionnaire that would measure both positive and negative aspects of downstream reciprocity, the outcomes of the EFA and CFA confirmed the final version of the scale that assesses only the positive dimension of DIR (Positive Downstream Indirect Reciprocity Scale; PoDIRS-6). In fact, the EFA showed the one factor structure of the new measure, and the findings of the CFAs indicated that it meets the criteria for good fit. All of the analyses conducted defined a preliminary nomological network of convergent constructs (gratitude, life satisfaction, religiosity, and moral concerns). The PoDIRS-6 is the first scale designed to assess a set of ideas that are expressed in the belief that an individual who has done something good might get help from other people in the future. It is encouraged that a questionnaire be developed which will measure the belief that human actions can be punished or reproved when they are negative and morally bad (Negative Downstream Indirect Reciprocity Scale; NeDIRS).
... Sus resultados muestran que los niveles de bienestar subjetivo aumentaron y se redujeron los niveles de depresión. En esta misma línea, Kaczmarek et al. (2015) encontraron que escribir un diario de Gratitud produce un incremento mayor en el bienestar que otro tipo de entrenamiento en esta misma fortaleza. De acuerdo con los trabajos previos y con nuestros propios resultados, parece interesante realizar una intervención dirigida a las personas mayores en la que se entrenen las fortalezas que mejor predicen el bienestar con el objetivo de mejorarlo y potenciarlo. ...
Article
Full-text available
In the last decades there has been increased the study of the psychological strengths as factor that concerns the well-being. They are considered as a subset of features of personality to which a moral value is added, being defined as natural qualities that the persons are intrinsically motivated to use as they increase the quality of life. The investigations demonstrate that they act as factors of protection and prevention of the psychopathology and of the problems of behavior in the different stages of life. There are strengths that are more relevant in older people and their training would try to influence the behavior and the emotional functioning to increase the satisfaction with the life. In the present work we analyze the strengths that predominate in older and we propose a program of intervention to promote the improve their health and quality of life. This is a new proposal because, until now, interventions in this area have been aimed at palliate various problems or as a complement to traditional therapy but not to prevent the onset of common disorders in the elderly.
... Specifically, individuals higher in trait gratitude have been shown to make more positive help-related benefit appraisals (Wood et al., 2008), which should apply to the situation of writing a gratitude letter and result in higher levels of state gratitude among individuals higher in trait gratitude after the intervention. In line with this, initial evidence suggests that individuals high in trait gratitude expected gratitude interventions to be easier, more socially accepted, and more effective (Kaczmarek et al., 2015). In addition, one study reported that individuals higher in trait gratitude reported larger increases in positive affect after writing about someone to whom they felt grateful (Watkins et al., 2003, study 4). ...
Article
Full-text available
Growing evidence suggests that online positive-psychological interventions effectively increase well-being, and a wealth of evidence describes cognitive-affective responses to such interventions. Few studies, however, have directly compared responses across popular exercises such as the best-possible-self intervention, the gratitude letter, or self-compassionate writing. In addition, current evidence is ambiguous regarding the effects of potential moderator variables such as trait gratitude and emotional self-awareness. To address these issues, we randomized 432 German adults to perform either optimism, gratitude, self-compassion, or control writing interventions in an online setting. Participants reported trait gratitude and trait emotional self-awareness before the interventions, as well as momentary optimism, gratitude, self-compassion, positive affect, and current thoughts immediately after the interventions. Results indicate higher momentary optimism after the best-possible-self intervention and higher momentary gratitude after the gratitude letter than after the control task. There were no differences when comparing the best-possible-self intervention with the gratitude letter. Both interventions increased the number of positive self-relevant thoughts. The self-compassion condition showed no effects. Moderation analysis results indicate that neither emotional self-awareness nor trait gratitude moderated the intervention effects. Future studies should compare responses across different positive-psychological interventions using more comprehensive exercises to ensure larger effects.
... We implemented an online system where participants accessed the tasks that were scheduled on each one of the days of the intervention; importantly, that enabled us to verify how strictly participants complied with the experimental schedule. Participants in the active manipulation group were requested to keep a gratitude journal during the 2 weeks of the intervention; gratitude journaling is a popular activity among people proactively trying to improve their everyday life happiness [50] and thought to be more engaging than writing letters of gratitude [36]. Based on previous studies, we hypothesized that engaging with the gratitude journal would raise the students' awareness of the academic opportunities ("blessings") bestowed upon them, triggering a re-evaluation of motives and goals that would be expressed as improvements in academic motivation, which here was comprehensively measured using the original version of the AMS [69]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Past studies have associated gratitude interventions with a host of positive outcomes. However, there is a dearth of research regarding the impact such interventions have on the academic motivation of university students, thought to be a primary determinant of academic achievement and overall satisfaction with school activities. Here, we examined the effects of a 2-week online gratitude journal intervention on the academic motivation of university students. Methods Eighty-four students were randomly assigned to either an active manipulation group (gratitude group) or a neutral control group. In the first 6 days of each week, participants in the gratitude group were asked to log in to the online system once a day and list up to five things they had felt grateful for. They were also requested to evaluate various aspects of their daily lives. Participants in the control group were only requested to perform the daily self-evaluations. Academic motivation was assessed using the Academic Motivation Scale (AMS), which conceptualizes motivation in academic settings as being composed by three different components, i.e., intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation and amotivation, the latter being associated with the perceived lack of contingency between actions and outcomes. Responses were collected 5 times: before group assignment (baseline), 1 week after the start of the intervention, immediately after the intervention, and at two follow-ups, 1 and 3 months after the intervention. Results Analysis using a self-determination index derived from the AMS components showed that participants who regularly engaged with the gratitude journal task displayed significant enhancements in academic motivation. Additional analysis revealed that the enhancements were driven by decreases in the levels of amotivation. Furthermore, follow-up data showed that there were no signs that such enhancements had receded 3 months after the end of the intervention. Improvements in academic motivation were not observed among participants in the control group. Conclusions The current results provide evidence that gratitude interventions can positively impact the academic motivation of university students. More broadly, they show that the effects extend well beyond the realm of typically assessed measures of individual well-being, and can effectively regulate a fundamental component of goal-directed behavior such as motivation.
... In line with this, several studies in the literature have found that gratitude exercises and interventions can promote a more grateful disposition among individuals (Bohlmeijer et al., 2020;Jans-Beken et al., 2019;O'Connell et al., 2018). For example, among the most studied interventions are gratitude journaling (Kaczmarek et al., 2015) and gratitude letters (Toepfer et al., 2012). Thus, governments should stimulate the use of these practices in order to build more grateful lives and societies. ...
Article
Full-text available
Self-Determination Theory (SDT) has consistently shown that the satisfaction of the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness are essential nutrients for optimal human functioning across a diverse range of domains such as family, sports, education and work. SDT has also found that materialism—the relative importance attached to extrinsic versus intrinsic life goals—not only reduces need satisfaction, but also increases need frustration. Yet, what psychological mechanisms explain this association remain unknown. We theorized that dispositional gratitude might play a role. Thus, we tested the longitudinal mediational effects of gratitude in the link between materialism and need satisfaction/frustration, using a three-wave longitudinal design over six months among a large sample of Chilean adults (N = 1841). Importantly, we used the two most established materialism scales: the Aspiration Index (AI) and the Material Values Scale (MVS). Results showed consistently (using either the AI or the MVS) that higher materialism at Time 1 prospectively predicts lower gratitude at Time 2, which in turn prospectively predicts lower need satisfaction and higher need frustration at Time 3. Our results extend SDT and gratitude research in important ways. First, we found a theoretically sound mechanism that accounts for the materialism—basic psychological needs link. Second, expanding on previous research, we found that (a) materialism increases need frustration over time directly, but also through the mediation of gratitude; (b) gratitude decreases need frustration. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
... The previous study found that college students felt less adept at writing a gratitude letter compared to keeping a gratitude list, which in turn predicted lower rates of completing the activities. 43 Similarly, workers may hesitate to participate in gratitude intervention, including expressing their grateful feelings to others. However, a previous study utilizing the RCT design reported that outcomes were significantly improved in the group that combined gratitude list and behavioral gratitude expression compared to the group that completed only the gratitude list. ...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Gratitude intervention, which requires participants to engage regularly in brief activities designed to cultivate a sense of gratefulness, is known as one of the most effective positive psychological interventions. Although numerous meta-analyses and systematic reviews have been conducted on gratitude intervention, no studies have focused on the working population. This study aimed to systematically summarize the effectiveness of gratitude interventions on workers' mental health and well-being. Methods Systematic search was conducted in February 2021 using five databases. Eligible studies included randomized controlled trials implementing gratitude activities among healthy workers and measuring mental health or well-being indicators and original articles or thesis in English. Results Nine out of 1957 articles met the inclusion criteria. Eight studies adopted gratitude list interventions, showing a significant improvement in perceived stress and depression; however, the effects on well-being were inconsistent. Interventions with gratitude list four times or less did not report significant changes in any outcomes. Conclusions Most gratitude interventions incorporated a gratitude list, and some studies included gratitude activities as a part of the combined program. On the other hand, no studies focused on only behavioral gratitude expression among workers. Gratitude interventions might be effective in improving mental health, but their effects on well-being remain unclear. The total number of gratitude lists and reflections might influence the effect on mental health and well-being; however, due to the high heterogeneity of the studies, further studies are needed.
Article
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health not only as the absence of disease but as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. Gratitude is one of the concepts most commonly associated with well-being from the empirical point of view. Despite of this, we seldom use the concept, possibly due to the lack of dissemination of its scientific bases and possible clinical applications. At an anatomical level, it is related consistently with the medial prefrontal cortex and at molecular level, with the neuropeptide oxytocin. It has been associated with better physical and mental health parameters, both in healthy and sick populations. It is usually measured using scales, being the most used worldwide the Gratitude Questionnaire-6 item (GQ-6). There are exercises that can enhance gratitude and its benefits, such as the gratitude letter and the gratitude journal. Given the current state of knowledge about gratitude, and considering its potential benefits, low risks, ability to complement other treatments, the simple and cost-effectiveness of gratitude interventions, a continuing research on this topic and its practical implementation is warranted.
Article
Full-text available
Gratitude is considered an important source of human strength in achieving and maintaining good mental health. Although complete mental health encompasses the absence of psychopathology and the presence of subjective well-being, no studies to date have examined relations between gratitude and both mental health dimensions together. Moreover, most studies focused on specific samples with a restricted demographic range. Our study, therefore, examined (a) demographic variability in the grateful trait, and (b) prospective associations between gratitude and both dimensions of mental health: psychopathology and subjective well-being. Using a four wave prospective survey design in a large (N = 706) sample of Dutch adults (M age = 44, SD age = 14, Range = 18--80), we measured gratitude with the SGRAT, symptoms of psychopathology with the SCL-90, and subjective well-being with the PANAS and SWLS. Gratitude was significantly associated with age, gender, education level, and employment status. Multilevel time-lagged regression analyses showed that the grateful trait did not predict symptoms of psychopathology, but was a significant albeit weak predictor of subjective well-being, when adjusting for the effects of demographic factors, and prior levels of subjective well-being and psychopathology. Our findings indicate that the grateful trait is associated with demographic factors, and shows complex connections with the presence of well-being and absence of psychopathology. These dynamics should be taken into consideration when studying the role of gratitude in mental health, and developing, applying, and evaluating gratitude interventions with the aim of enhancing subjective well-being and/or reducing psychopathology.
Chapter
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.
Chapter
Given the increasing demands of work in the twenty-first century, a question of importance to both scholars and managers is how individuals and organizations can foster the positive psychological resources that optimize employee functioning. We review evidence from the existing literature on several interventions – mindfulness practices, work breaks, and three types of positive reflection exercises – that are effective in building such resources. Specifically, we link these interventions and practices to three types of positive psychological resources that are most proximal to employee performance and flourishing: mood, which includes positive affect and emotions; energy, which includes vigor and vitality; and efficacy, which includes mastery, resilience, and optimism. We propose ways in which organizations can use these practices to build positive resources at work.
Chapter
This chapter describes evidence-based happiness techniques that are highly relevant for workers in the tourism and hospitality industries. Although happiness creates success for many stakeholders, there is limited evidence on how to increase the happiness of workers in these industries as the focus has predominantly been on the happiness of the customers. The authors fill this gap in the literature by presenting three proven interventions that are particularly relevant to these sectors: job crafting, acts of kindness, and gratitude exercises. The chapter explains what these concepts are and how they work. It also provides specific examples of how they can be implemented into tourism and hospitality organisations.
Article
Gratitude interventions have been consistently found to enhance individuals’ gratitude level. However, most of the existing gratitude interventions require handwriting that is difficult to sustain among young adults who often use social networking sites. This study thus proposed and tested a social media-based gratitude intervention. Thirty-three undergraduate students aged between 18 and 24 years were randomly assigned to gratitude group and control group. Participants in the gratitude group were instructed to post one picture with a caption related to gratitude on Instagram for 7 days. Likewise, the control group was to post a picture with caption related to colour. All participants answered Big Five Inventory short version before the intervention as well as the Gratitude Questionnaire-Six-Items Form, Perceived Stress Scale, and Satisfaction with Life Scale before and after the intervention. Analysis of covariance (controlling personality traits, pre- and post-measured stress and life satisfaction) indicated that students in the gratitude condition reported higher levels of gratitude than those in the control group. No significant difference was observed for post-measured stress and life satisfaction. Overall, the preliminary findings support that the gratitude intervention through Instagram is a promising method to increase gratitude among young adults.
Article
Full-text available
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.
Article
Full-text available
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.
Article
Full-text available
Researchers have shown that about 40% of our happiness is accounted for by intentional activity whereas 50% is explained by genetics and 10% by circumstances (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon & Schkade, 2005). Consequently, efforts to improve happiness might best be focused in the domain of intentional activity: willful and self-directed activity (Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2007). Such activity is nested in the "sustainable happiness model" proposed by Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, and Schkade (2005) which states that happiness is in part within our ability to manage. Earlier work (Fordyce, 1977; 1983) supports the premise that individuals can sustain levels of happiness through volitional behavior. The current pilot study explored one such intentional activity - composing letters of gratitude. It was hypothesized that writing three letters of gratitude over time would enhance important qualities of subjective well-being in the author; happiness, life-satisfaction, and gratitude.
Article
Full-text available
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.
Article
Full-text available
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.
Article
Full-text available
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.
Article
Full-text available
Theory and research suggest that people can increase their happiness through simple intentional positive activities, such as expressing gratitude or practicing kindness. Investigators have recently begun to study the optimal conditions under which positive activities increase happiness and the mechanisms by which these effects work. According to our positive-activity model, features of positive activities (e.g., their dosage and variety), features of persons (e.g., their motivation and effort), and person-activity fit moderate the effect of positive activities on well-being. Furthermore, the model posits four mediating variables: positive emotions, positive thoughts, positive behaviors, and need satisfaction. Empirical evidence supporting the model and future directions are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
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.
Article
Full-text available
Research in social psychology has extensively referenced and used Fishbein and Ajzen's theory of reasoned action to predict and understand motivational influences on behavior Recently Ajzen has proposed an extension of the theory by including perceptions of behavioral control as an additional predictor of intentions and behavior. The present research compared Ajzen's theory of planned behavior with the theory of reasoned action for 10 behaviors chosen to represent a range with respect to control over performing the behavior. he results indicate that inclusion of perceived behavioral control enhances the prediction of behavioral intention and behavior Consistent with the theory of planned behavior, the effects of perceived behavioral control on a target behavior are most vivid when the behavior presents some problem with respect to control.
Article
Full-text available
Background The use of positive psychological interventions may be considered as a complementary strategy in mental health promotion and treatment. The present article constitutes a meta-analytical study of the effectiveness of positive psychology interventions for the general public and for individuals with specific psychosocial problems. Methods We conducted a systematic literature search using PubMed, PsychInfo, the Cochrane register, and manual searches. Forty articles, describing 39 studies, totaling 6,139 participants, met the criteria for inclusion. The outcome measures used were subjective well-being, psychological well-being and depression. Positive psychology interventions included self-help interventions, group training and individual therapy. Results The standardized mean difference was 0.34 for subjective well-being, 0.20 for psychological well-being and 0.23 for depression indicating small effects for positive psychology interventions. At follow-up from three to six months, effect sizes are small, but still significant for subjective well-being and psychological well-being, indicating that effects are fairly sustainable. Heterogeneity was rather high, due to the wide diversity of the studies included. Several variables moderated the impact on depression: Interventions were more effective if they were of longer duration, if recruitment was conducted via referral or hospital, if interventions were delivered to people with certain psychosocial problems and on an individual basis, and if the study design was of low quality. Moreover, indications for publication bias were found, and the quality of the studies varied considerably. Conclusions The results of this meta-analysis show that positive psychology interventions can be effective in the enhancement of subjective well-being and psychological well-being, as well as in helping to reduce depressive symptoms. Additional high-quality peer-reviewed studies in diverse (clinical) populations are needed to strengthen the evidence-base for positive psychology interventions.
Article
Full-text available
Implementation intentions are said to transfer control over goal-directed behavior to situational cues, thereby automating initiation of the behavior (Gollwitzer, 1999). Alternatively, implementation intentions may be effective because they create commitment to the intended behavior. In an empirical study, implementation intentions regarding a simple task (rating TV newscasts) varied in their specificity. In addition, explicit commitment to the task was manipulated, and chronic conscientiousness was assessed. Consistent with the commitment hypothesis, general and specific implementation intentions were equally effective in raising level of task performance, and they were no more effective than asking for an explicit commitment to carry out the task. Also, individuals high in conscientiousness were more likely than individuals low on this trait to enact their intentions.
Article
Full-text available
This study examined the effects of writing letters of gratitude on three primary qualities of well-being; happiness (positive affect), life-satisfaction (cognitive evaluation), and depression (negative affect). Gratitude was also assessed. Participants included 219 men and women who wrote three letters of gratitude over a 3week period. A two-way mixed method ANOVA with a between factor (writers vs. non-writers) and within subject factor (time of testing) analysis was conducted. Results indicated that writing letters of gratitude increased participants’ happiness and life satisfaction, while decreasing depressive symptoms. The implications of this approach for intervention are discussed. KeywordsWell-being–Happiness–Life satisfaction–Gratitude–Writing–Letters–Intentional activity
Article
Full-text available
Although the last decade has witnessed mounting research on the development and evaluation of positive interventions, investigators still know little about the target population of such interventions: happiness seekers. The present research asked three questions about happiness seekers: (1) What are their general characteristics?, (2) What do they purposefully do to become happier?, and (3) How do they make use of self-help resources? In Study 1, we identified two distinct clusters of online happiness seekers. In Study 2, we asked happiness seekers to report on their use of 14 types of happiness-seeking behaviors. In Study 3, we tracked happiness seekers' usage of an iPhone application that offered access to eight different happiness-increasing activities, and assessed their resulting happiness and mood improvements. Together, these studies provide a preliminary portrait of happiness seekers' characteristics and naturalistic behaviors. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Full-text available
The seven articles in this issue, and the accompanying meta-analysis in Health Psychology Review [McEachan, R.R.C., Conner, M., Taylor, N., & Lawton, R.J. (2011). Prospective prediction of health-related behaviors with the theory of planned behavior: A meta-analysis. Health Psychology Review, 5, 97-144], illustrate the wide application of the theory of planned behaviour [Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179-211] in the health domain. In this editorial, Ajzen reflects on some of the issues raised by the different authors. Among the topics addressed are the nature of intentions and the limits of predictive validity; rationality, affect and emotions; past behaviour and habit; the prototype/willingness model; and the role of such background factors as the big five personality traits and social comparison tendency.
Article
Full-text available
An 8-month-long experimental study examined the immediate and longer term effects of regularly practicing two assigned positive activities (expressing optimism and gratitude) on well-being. More important, this intervention allowed us to explore the impact of two metafactors that are likely to influence the success of any positive activity: whether one self-selects into the study knowing that it is about increasing happiness and whether one invests effort into the activity over time. Our results indicate that initial self-selection makes a difference, but only in the two positive activity conditions, not the control, and that continued effort also makes a difference, but, again, only in the treatment conditions. We conclude that happiness interventions are more than just placebos, but that they are most successful when participants know about, endorse, and commit to the intervention.
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents a new model of gratitude incorporating not only the gratitude that arises following help from others but also a habitual focusing on and appreciating the positive aspects of life", incorporating not only the gratitude that arises following help from others, but also a habitual focusing on and appreciating the positive aspects of life. Research into individual differences in gratitude and well-being is reviewed, including gratitude and psychopathology, personality, relationships, health, subjective and eudemonic well-being, and humanistically orientated functioning. Gratitude is strongly related to well-being, however defined, and this link may be unique and causal. Interventions to clinically increase gratitude are critically reviewed, and concluded to be promising, although the positive psychology literature may have neglected current limitations, and a distinct research strategy is suggested. Finally, mechanisms whereby gratitude may relate to well-being are discussed, including schematic biases, coping, positive affect, and broaden-and-build principles. Gratitude is relevant to clinical psychology due to (a) strong explanatory power in understanding well-being, and (b) the potential of improving well-being through fostering gratitude with simple exercises.
Article
Full-text available
In four studies, the authors examined the correlates of the disposition toward gratitude. Study I revealed that self-ratings and observer ratings of the grateful disposition are associated with positive affect and well-being, prosocial behaviors and traits, and religiousness/spirituality. Study 2 replicated these findings in a large nonstudent sample. Study 3 yielded similar results to Studies I and 2 and provided evidence that gratitude is negatively associated with envy and materialistic attitudes. Study 4 yielded evidence that these associations persist after controlling for Extraversion/positive affectivity. Neuroticism/negative affectivity, and Agreeableness. The development of the Gratitude Questionnaire, a unidimensional measure with good psychometric properties, is also described.
Article
Full-text available
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.
Article
Full-text available
Positive psychology has flourished in the last 5 years. The authors review recent developments in the field, including books, meetings, courses, and conferences. They also discuss the newly created classification of character strengths and virtues, a positive complement to the various editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (e. g., American Psychiatric Association, 1994), and present some cross-cultural findings that suggest a surprising ubiquity of strengths and virtues. Finally, the authors focus on psychological interventions that increase individual happiness. In a 6-group, random-assignment, placebo-controlled Internet study, the authors tested 5 purported happiness interventions and 1 plausible control exercise. They found that 3 of the interventions lastingly increased happiness and decreased depressive symptoms. Positive interventions can supplement traditional interventions that relieve suffering and may someday be the practical legacy of positive psychology.
Article
Full-text available
Three studies tested a new model of gratitude, which specified the generative mechanisms linking individual differences (trait gratitude) and objective situations with the amount of gratitude people experience after receiving aid (state gratitude). In Study 1, all participants (N = 253) read identical vignettes describing a situation in which they received help. People higher in trait gratitude made more positive beneficial appraisals (seeing the help as more valuable, more costly to provide, and more altruistically intended), which fully mediated the relationship between trait and state levels of gratitude. Study 2 (N = 113) replicated the findings using a daily process study in which participants reported on real events each day for up to 14 days. In Study 3, participants (N = 200) read vignettes experimentally manipulating objective situations to be either high or low in benefit. Benefit appraisals were shown to have a causal effect on state gratitude and to mediate the relationship between different prosocial situations and state gratitude. The 3 studies demonstrate the critical role of benefit appraisals in linking state gratitude with trait gratitude and the objective situation.
Article
Full-text available
The emotion of gratitude is thought to have social effects, but empirical studies of such effects have focused largely on the repaying of kind gestures. The current research focused on the relational antecedents of gratitude and its implications for relationship formation. The authors examined the role of naturally occurring gratitude in college sororities during a week of gift-giving from older members to new members. New members recorded reactions to benefits received during the week. At the end of the week and 1 month later, the new and old members rated their interactions and their relationships. Perceptions of benefactor responsiveness predicted gratitude for benefits, and gratitude during the week predicted future relationship outcomes. Gratitude may function to promote relationship formation and maintenance.
Article
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.
Article
Although some theory suggests that it is impossible to increase one's subjective well-being (SWB), our ‘sustainable happiness model’ (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005) specifies conditions under which this may be accomplished. To illustrate the three classes of predictor in the model, we first review research on the demographic/circumstantial, temperament/personality, and intentional/experiential correlates of SWB. We then introduce the sustainable happiness model, which suggests that changing one's goals and activities in life is the best route to sustainable new SWB. However, the goals and activities must be of certain positive types, must fit one's personality and needs, must be practiced diligently and successfully, must be varied in their timing and enactment, and must provide a continued stream of fresh positive experiences. Research supporting the model is reviewed, including new research suggesting that happiness intervention effects are not just placebo effects.
Article
Despite a variety of interventions to increase well-being, little is known about who is interested in and initiates exercises on their own. We explored individual differences that predict who is most likely to participate in a voluntary gratitude intervention. College students (n = 229) completed measures of curiosity, depressive symptoms, life satisfaction, and intentions to change their lifestyle. Afterwards, participants received a personalized invitation to take part in a web-based intervention to enhance their well-being (anonymous and strictly voluntary). Results suggested that 11.5% of participants started the gratitude intervention. Individuals endorsing strong intentions to change their lifestyle (+1 SD above mean) were 2.2 times more likely than their peers to start the gratitude intervention. People with greater trait curiosity endorsed greater intentions to start this intervention; people with greater depressive symptoms endorsed weaker intentions. Both curiosity and depressive symptoms indirectly influenced initiation of the gratitude intervention via intentions. These findings provide support for particular paths that lead to the initial behavioral effort towards healthy change. We discuss the implications for attempting to increase and sustain people’s well-being.
Article
Maximum likelihood algorithms for use with missing data are becoming common-place in microcomputer packages. Specifically, 3 maximum likelihood algorithms are currently available in existing software packages: the multiple-group approach, full information maximum likelihood estimation, and the EM algorithm. Although they belong to the same family of estimator, confusion appears to exist over the differ-ences among the 3 algorithms. This article provides a comprehensive, nontechnical overview of the 3 maximum likelihood algorithms. Multiple imputation, which is fre-quently used in conjunction with the EM algorithm, is also discussed. Until recently, the analysis of data with missing observations has been dominated by listwise (LD) and pairwise (PD) deletion methods (Kim & Curry, 1977; Roth, 1994). However, alternative methods for treating missing data have become in-creasingly common in software packages, leaving applied researchers with a wide range of data analytic options. In particular, three maximum likelihood (ML) esti-mation algorithms for use with missing data are currently available: the multi-ple-group approach (Allison, 1987; Muthén, Kaplan, & Hollis, 1987) can be imple-mented using existing structural equation modeling (SEM) software; Amos (Arbuckle, 1995) and Mx (Neale, 1995) offer full information maximum likelihood STRUCTURAL EQUATION MODELING, 8(1), 128–141 Copyright © 2001, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Article
This study investigated the sleep hygiene behaviour of university students within the framework of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB [Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179-211.]), and examined the predictive validity of additional variables including perceived autonomy support, past behaviour and response inhibition. A total of 257 undergraduate students from an Australian university were administered two online questionnaires at two time points. At time 1, participants completed the TPB questionnaire and the Go/NoGo task as a measure of response inhibition. A week later at time 2, participants completed a questionnaire measuring the performance of sleep hygiene behaviours. Multiple and hierarchical regression analyses showed that the TPB model significantly predicted intention and behaviour. Although intention and perceived behavioural control were statistically significant in predicting behaviour, past behaviour and response inhibition accounted for more variance when added to the TPB model. Subjective norm was found to be the strongest predictor of intention implying the importance of normative influences in sleep hygiene behaviours. Response inhibition was the strongest predictor of behaviour, reinforcing the argument that the performance of health protective behaviours requires self-regulatory ability. Therefore, interventions should be targeted at enhancing self-regulatory capacity.
Article
We proposed that expressing gratitude would increase positive perception of a relationship partner, thereby increasing comfort in expressing relationship concerns, which is a form of relationship maintenance. Study 1 (n = 159) showed a relationship between naturally occurring expressions of gratitude and comfort in voicing relationship concerns. Study 2 (n = 178) provided longitudinal evidence for direction of effects because Time 1 gratitude expression predicted Time 2 comfort in voicing relationship concerns, controlling for baseline comfort in voicing relationship concerns. Study 3 (n = 225) showed that expressing gratitude to a friend did increase voicing relationship concerns, compared with positive thought and neutral control conditions. In Study 4 (n = 74), we explored the mechanism through a longitudinal, experimental design and found that participants assigned to express gratitude reported higher comfort voicing concerns and more positive perception of partner than did control participants. Moreover, positive perception of partner mediated the relationship between condition and comfort in voicing relationship concerns.
Article
This study applied the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) to the prediction of breast self-examination (BSE) intentions and behaviour, and tested whether the frequency of past behaviour and context stability moderates intention-behaviour and habit-behaviour relations. Seventy-seven females completed measures of the TPB, frequency of past behaviour, context stability and habit strength (Self-Report Habit Index). BSE behaviour was assessed at 1-month follow-up (n = 66). The TPB explained 33% of the variance in BSE intentions and 11% of the variance in time 2 BSE. The frequency of past behaviour moderated the intention-behaviour relationship such that the intention was only positively related to time 2 BSE behaviour when the frequency of past behaviour was low. Context stability and the combination of the frequency of past behaviour × context stability moderated the habit-behaviour relationship such that habit strength was only positively related to time 2 BSE behaviour when context stability and the combination of frequency of past behaviour × context stability were high. The results are consistent with the proposal that behaviours that are performed frequently in stable contexts are predominantly under the control of habitual processes, whereas behaviours that are performed infrequently in unstable contexts are predominantly under the control of intentional processes.
Article
This research was conducted to examine the hypothesis that expressing gratitude to a relationship partner enhances one's perception of the relationship's communal strength. In Study 1 (N = 137), a cross-sectional survey, expressing gratitude to a relationship partner was positively associated with the expresser's perception of the communal strength of the relationship. In Study 2 (N = 218), expressing gratitude predicted increases in the expresser's perceptions of the communal strength of the relationship across time. In Study 3 (N = 75), participants were randomly assigned to an experimental condition, in which they expressed gratitude to a friend, or to one of three control conditions, in which they thought grateful thoughts about a friend, thought about daily activities, or had positive interactions with a friend. At the end of the study, perceived communal strength was higher among participants in the expression-of-gratitude condition than among those in all three control conditions. We discuss the theoretical and applied implications of these findings and suggest directions for future research.
Article
Previous work suggests women might possess an advantage over men in experiencing and benefiting from gratitude. We examined whether women perceive and react to gratitude differently than men. In Study 1, women, compared with men, evaluated gratitude expression to be less complex, uncertain, conflicting, and more interesting and exciting. In Study 2, college students and older adults described and evaluated a recent episode when they received a gift. Women, compared with men, reported less burden and obligation and greater gratitude. Upon gift receipt, older men reported the least positive affect when their benefactors were men. In Studies 2 and 3, women endorsed higher trait gratitude compared with men. In Study 3, over 3 months, women with greater gratitude were more likely to satisfy needs to belong and feel autonomous; gratitude had the opposite effect in men. The willingness to openly express emotions partially mediated gender differences, and effects could not be attributed to global trait affect. Results demonstrated that men were less likely to feel and express gratitude, made more critical evaluations of gratitude, and derived fewer benefits. Implications for the study and therapeutic enhancement of gratitude are discussed.
Article
Normed and nonnormed fit indexes are frequently used as adjuncts to chi-square statistics for evaluating the fit of a structural model. A drawback of existing indexes is that they estimate no known population parameters. A new coefficient is proposed to summarize the relative reduction in the noncentrality parameters of two nested models. Two estimators of the coefficient yield new normed (CFI) and nonnormed (FI) fit indexes. CFI avoids the underestimation of fit often noted in small samples for Bentler and Bonett's (1980) normed fit index (NFI). FI is a linear function of Bentler and Bonett's non-normed fit index (NNFI) that avoids the extreme underestimation and overestimation often found in NNFI. Asymptotically, CFI, FI, NFI, and a new index developed by Bollen are equivalent measures of comparative fit, whereas NNFI measures relative fit by comparing noncentrality per degree of freedom. All of the indexes are generalized to permit use of Wald and Lagrange multiplier statistics. An example illustrates the behavior of these indexes under conditions of correct specification and misspecification. The new fit indexes perform very well at all sample sizes.
Article
A sample of 222 undergraduates was screened for high happiness using multiple confirming assessment filters. We compared the upper 10% of consistently very happy people with average and very unhappy people. The very happy people were highly social, and had stronger romantic and other social relationships than less happy groups. They were more extraverted, more agreeable, and less neurotic, and scored lower on several psychopathology scales of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Compared with the less happy groups, the happiest respondents did not exercise significantly more, participate in religious activities significantly more, or experience more objectively defined good events. No variable was sufficient for happiness, but good social relations were necessary. Members of the happiest group experienced positive, but not ecstatic, feelings most of the time, and they reported occasional negative moods. This suggests that very happy people do have a functioning emotion system that can react appropriately to life events.
Gratitude and the science of positive psychology
  • R A Emmons
  • C M Shelton
Emmons, R. A., & Shelton, C. M. (2002). Gratitude and the science of positive psychology. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology (pp. 459-471). New York: Oxford University Press.