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A study of gratitude and well being among adolescents

  • Higher Education Department, Government of Jammu and Kashmir

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This paper reports the results of a study on adolescents’ gratitude and well being. Gender and age differences were assessed. An association between gratitude, well being, age and gender was explored. Questionnaires were distributed to the participants and filled on the spot. Data from 200 participants 12-19 years of age was collected from two districts of Jammu and Kashmir, India. Independent samples t test and Product moment method was used for statistical analysis. The results revealed age difference in well being. An association between age and well being was also found. The results have an implication for future research. The findings of this study have applicability in school settings. The researcher emphasizes on replicating this research, and in finding out the trends in various cultures.
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IOSR Journal Of Humanities And Social Science (JHSS)
ISSN: 2279-0837, ISBN: 2279-0845. Volume 3, Issue 5 (Nov. - Dec. 2012), PP 35-38
Www.Iosrjournals.Org 35 | Page
A study of gratitude and well being among adolescents
Sarita Sood1, Richa Gupta2
1(Lecturer, P G Department of Psychology, University of Jammu, India)
2(Research Scholar, P G Department of Psychology, University of Jammu, India)
Abstract: This paper reports the results of a study on adolescents’ gratitude and well being. Gender and age
differences were assessed. An association between gratitude, well being, age and gender was explored.
Questionnaires were distributed to the participants and filled on the spot. Data from 200 participants 12-19
years of age was collected from two districts of Jammu and Kashmir, India. Independent samples t test and
Product moment method was used for statistical analysis. The results revealed age difference in well being. An
association between age and well being was also found. The results have an implication for future research. The
findings of this study have applicability in school settings. The researcher emphasizes on replicating this
research, and in finding out the trends in various cultures.
Keywords Adolescents, Age, Gender, Gratitude, Well being.
Gratitude is an acknowledgment made by a person to others for receiving anything of value. It is
extended only when a benefit is evaluated positively or when it is not due to own effort. It is an emotion,
positive in nature, associated with past and has potential to generate greater positive feelings in the future.
Gratitude acts as an antidote to rumination which is an enemy of well being [1]. It also helps in generating
optimism while overcoming negativity bias and in providing reason enough to be thankful for in life despite of
several struggles that we come across. Gratitude has also been found to be associated with increase in happiness,
life satisfaction, hope, empathy, self esteem, and positive emotions [2]. All the major world religions emphasize
and profess highly of gratitude. As per Hinduism [3], “Father and mother are Gods of the family; even so, honor
them as Gods with heartfelt service, all you of human birth.” A glance at gratitude, perspective of Christianity
[4], “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.” To
quote gratitude from Islam, The Holy Qur’an [5]“O my Father, Great Elder, I have no words to thank you, but
with your deep wisdom I am sure that you can see how I value your glorious gifts.” Gratitude as viewed in
Buddhism (Anguttara Nikaya i.61)[6] “But the worthy person is grateful and mindful of benefits done to him.
This gratitude, this mindfulness, is congenial to the best people.” Talking of gratitude, Bahai’ vision in the
words of the Master, Abdu’l-Baha’[7], “ In these times thanksgiving for the bounty of the Merciful One consists
in the illumination of the heart and the feeling of the soul.” It is evident that gratitude is indispensible as far
human existence.
Gratitude is developed and is not innate [1]. Constant efforts made by close associates, such as:
caretakers, parents, teachers, peers inculcate an attitude of gratitude in children. Gratitude is foundation of well
being and mental health [8]. Ample of studies conducted earlier have provided scientific evidence of positive
relationship between gratitude and well being [9]; [10]; [11]; [12]; [13]; [14]. A growing body of research has
documented the wide array of psychological, physical, and relational benefits associated with gratitude from
childhood to old age. However, contrary empirical findings are reported in some of the studies [15]; [16].
Review of the studies tabbing demographic differential in gratitude are suggestive of differences with respect to
gender and age [17]; [18]; [19]; [20]; [21]. Similarly studies carried out to assess gender and age differences in
well being demonstrate that such differences exist [22]; [23]; [24]. However, most of these studies reviewed are
on adults. The research on gratitude and well being in adolescents is scanty [25]; [26]. For promotion of proper
youth development, gratitude research is needed with adolescents [27]. The studies conducted so far on
gratitude and well being are suggestive of need of probing deeper into this aspect. In the light of this, the
current study was carried out with an objective of finding out gratitude and well being in male and female
adolescents in early and late adolescence.
Sample The sample comprised of 200 students studying in various schools in Jammu and Rajauri district of the
state Jammu and Kashmir (India). Participants were in age range 12 to 19 years with a mean age of 14.11. Of
these 100 of 200 (50%) were male and 50 of 200 (50%) were female. Of the total sample, 79.5 percent (159 of
200) were from rural areas and 20.5 % (41 of 200) were from urban areas. Forty four percent of participants (n
A study of gratitude and well being among adolescents 36 | Page
= 88) were in 6-8 grade and 56 % (n=112) were in grade 9-12. In the religion wise distribution of sample, 153 of
200 (76.5%) were Hindu, 29 of 200 (14.5%) were Muslim, 8 of 200 (4.0%), 9 of 200 (4.5%) were Sikh and only
1 of 200 (.5%) was Christian.
Data was gathered from the students of grade 6th to 12th studying in various schools in district Jammu and
district Rajauri. The students were approached and the purpose of research was clearly stated to them and
confidentiality was assured. Consent of the students, showing willingness to participate, was sought and
questionnaires were administered in groups. Doubts, if any, were clarified. The obtained data was screened and
incomplete questionnaires were separated. In all 209 participants filled the questionnaires and nine of these were
rejected. Data was interpreted individually as well as collectively. It was subjected to statistical analysis and
results were obtained.
Gratitude was assessed using GQ-6 [28], a self report measure. Participants were required to rate the items on a
7-point scale (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree). Two items are reverse-scored to overcome any
response bias. The possible scores range from 7 to 42.
For the measurement of well being, WHO-Five Well-being Index (WHO-5) developed by Psychiatric Research
Unit, World Health Organization [29] was used. It included positive worded items only covering positive mood,
vitality, and general interests. The response options were on 6-point scale (0= at no time, 5=all the time). Total
possible score ranged from 0 to 25. Total score of 13 and below indicated poor well being.
Statistical analyses
Data collected from the questionnaires was mainly analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences for
Windows Version 20. Following statistics were applied:
Descriptive statistics: Mean, Standard Deviation
Inferential statistics: Independent samples t test
Correlation Analysis: Pearson’s Product Moment method
An independent samples t test indicated that gratitude scores for male (M=30.01, SD=4.46) and female
participants (M=30.33, SD=4.11), had no significant difference t(198)=.527, p=.599. Similar findings has been
revealed in the researches carried out earlier [30]. Various other studies [17]; [20] has provided contrary
evidence indicative of existence of gender differences in gratitude.
Table 1 Comparison of gratitude scores among adolescents as per gender and age
t value
12-15 years
16-19 years
The results given in Table 1 revealed no significant difference in the level of gratitude among the adolescents in
age group 12-15 years and 16-19 years. Contradictory results were obtained in the earlier investigation of the
similar issue [18]; [19]; [21]showing difference in gratitude as per the age.
In order to test gender differences in well being, independent samples t test was conducted. The test was found
to be statistically non significant t(198)=.244, p=.808. Table 2 reveal the mean differences between the two
groups in terms of their well being. There was marginal difference in the mean scores. Contrary findings are
reported in most of the studies reflecting differences in well being on the basis of gender [22]; [23]; [24]. From
the review carried out, a study on Turkish adolescents [31] provided supporting evidence for the findings of
current research.
Table 2 Comparison of well being scores among adolescents as per gender and age
t value
12-15 years
16-19 years
**significant at .01 level
Results from independent samples t test (Table 2) indicated that adolescents in the age group 12-15 years
(M=16.77, SD=4.80) scored higher on the well being than in the age group 16-19 years (M=13.65, SD=4.72),
t(198)=.679,p=.001. The difference between the two groups in well being appeared to be significant. Similar
A study of gratitude and well being among adolescents 37 | Page
findings were reported in a study on Turkish adolescents [31] with younger adolescents aged 15 years reporting
better well being than those of 17 years of age.
Table 3 Correlation analysis of gratitude, well being, gender and age
Well Being
**significant at .01 level
Table 3 reveals results obtained by Pearson correlation analysis. The relationship between adolescents’ age and
well being is low and negative. These results are statistically significant. An association between age and well
being has also been reported [32]. It was found that well being increases with age. As opposed to this, in the
current study the well being has been found to decrease with age. No associations between gratitude and well
being were found in this study. As expected, not all investigators have confirmed associations between gratitude
and well being [15]; [16]; [33].
Results of this research show that gender is not important for adolescents’ gratitude and well being. In
the light of abundance of contradictory findings in the literature we cannot state with certainty whether such a
trend exists in adolescents. These findings need to be investigated in terms of possible cultural influences.
Maybe in Indian culture the children are trained, right from the beginning of their socialization process, to
express gratitude towards others and both male and female children receive similar training. In addition to this
age is found to be an important factor for the well being of adolescents. We have come up with higher well
being in early adolescence years than in later adolescence. It could be said that with an increase in age, level of
well being declines. It might be said that those who are in age group 16 years to 19 years are exposed to more
stressful situations. As the participants of this study have been selected from various schools, comprising only of
the student population the burden of board examination in secondary and senior secondary class could be one
possible reason of decline in well being in this group. No association between gratitude and well being has been
found in this research. It reveals that having gratitude does not ascertain well being in adolescents. These
findings are confirmed within the study as results reflect no differences in gratitude, differences in well being
are evident. Though the results of this study are not parallel with the review on related variables it gives an idea
of investigating deeper in order to know the possible reasons of such findings.
Studies on adolescents’ gratitude and well being are scanty. This study will add to the existing
knowledge. This study is carried out only in the areas easily accessible to the researchers and needs to be
replicated to establish the findings. Findings of this study are applicable for the schools as the adolescents from
various schools were taken up in this study. Since adolescents are similar on gratitude irrespective of gender and
age. In the schools training programs designed to inculcate gratitude may be introduced for the students in
adolescence period. Special interventions for the adolescents in senior classes to reduce their stress level should
be designed to enhance their well being. Future studies may be directed towards exploring the possible factors
responsible for well being. Similar research oriented to find out trends in various cultures might be beneficial.
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... The questionnaire contains a 6-point likert scale for the responses with anchors of 1 to 6 with the statement with higher scores indicating a higher level of psychological well-being. Reverse coding of the responses to items 4,5,7,9,10,11,13,14,15,17,18,22,23,25,26,27,29,31,34,36,38,42,43,44,45,46, 52 and 53 were done. 8 All the responses were summed and the total scores of each domain were divided into 3 groups as poor, average and good. ...
... Contrasting results were also seen by Sood and Gupta in 2012 in their study that adolescents in the age group 12-15 years scored significantly higher on well-being than in the age group 16-19 years. 18 Pearson correlation analysis showed negative correlation with age. ...
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Background: Psychological well-being is a multidimensional concept, including both individual capacities of the adolescents and social competencies. Good overall adjustment and a sense of psychological well-being are very crucial factors for the adolescent’s positive contribution to the society. The objective of this study was to assess the status of psychological well-being and its socio-demographic determinants among adolescent school students of Raipur city.Methods: A cross-sectional observational study was done on 576 adolescent school students of Raipur city to assess their psychological well-being using Ryff’s scale of psychological well-being along with their socio-demographic characteristics. Association and regression analysis were done.Results: Overall, 79.9% of study subjects were scored as having average psychological well-being followed by 20.1% study subjects having good psychological well-being according to Ryff’s scale. Study subjects with female gender, studying in english medium, private school, following non-state board syllabus, belonging to unreserved category, having educated father or mother, working father or mother, at least one parent working at distant place, residing in joint family whose parents are living together, who gets attended by someone after returning from school are having higher psychological well-being than the other group.Conclusions: Socio-demographic determinants has a significant role to predict the psychological well-being of the study subjects. These determinants are mostly non modifiable displaying the need for integrating key behavioural factors on positive health promotion policies and programs.
... In recent years, there has been increasing attention from researchers regarding the relationship between gratitude and well-being. Cross-sectional studies have found a significant positive association between gratitude and both subjective and psychological well-being (Ding & Zhao, 2018;Lin & Yeh, 2014;Mason, 2019;Sood, 2012). Longitudinal studies have further shown that gratitude positively predicts subjective and psychological well-being, while the reverse relation is not supported (Jans-Beken et al., 2018;Nezlek et al., 2019). ...
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The positive psychological construct of gratitude is crucial for health and well-being. Previous studies have shown a significant positive correlation between gratitude and social well-being. However, no studies have examined this potentially reciprocal relationship from a longitudinal perspective. According to the broaden-and-build theory and gratitude amplification theory, we hypothesized that gratitude has a predictive effect on social well-being. In addition, based on the personality and social relationships model and self-determination theory, we proposed that social well-being is an antecedent to gratitude. In summary, this research combines a longitudinal study and a daily diary investigation to systematically explore the causal relation between gratitude and social well-being. Study 1 employs a two-wave cross-lagged design to explore the long-term relationship between trait gratitude and social well-being. The sample comprised 563 undergraduate students, who all participated online. Pursuant to the study purpose, participants were asked to complete the gratitude and social well-being scales twice, separated by a seven-month interval. The cross-lagged path analysis suggested reciprocal effects between trait gratitude and social well-being. To reduce recall bias and explore the short-term association between gratitude and social well-being, Study 2 employs a daily diary method. A total of 274 young adults completed daily gratitude and social well-being measures for 21 consecutive days. In Study 1, trait gratitude at T1 significantly positively predicted social well-being at T2, while social well-being at T1 also significantly predicted trait gratitude at T2. These effects remained significant after controlling for age and gender. Consistent with Study 1, Study 2 also revealed a reciprocal relationship: state gratitude on one day positively predicted social well-being the next day, while social well-being on one day also positively predicted state gratitude the next day. Moreover, these relationships were stable after controlling for time trend. Overall, the results of Study 1 and Study 2 support the hypotheses by showing reciprocal predictive effects between gratitude and social well-being. In summary, we predicted that experiencing gratitude would lead to higher social well-being, which would, in turn, result in higher gratitude, activating an upward spiral. This work deepens understanding of the interaction between gratitude and social well-being, paving the way for future intervention research to help increase both.
... Dalam konteks pelaksanaan amali sains, memerlukan kerjasama guru dan murid (Kalra & Gupta, 2012), iaitu, menerusi minat murid mengambil bahagian secara aktif dalam kerja amali menerusi kaedah berpusatkan murid. Dengan cara ini, guru-guru berupaya meningkatkan penglibatan, kreativiti dan meneroka pengetahuan dan teknik tentang sains dan teknologi (Sood, 2012), dan seterusnya mengembangkan lagi aspek kemahiran fizikal, mental dan psikomotor murid melalui tumpuan kepada kaedah praktikal (Mohan, 2010). ...
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... Gratitude is associated with psychological functions and mental health indicators, such as positivity, efficiency, satisfaction, happiness, and contentment. Gratitude is also associated with high levels of positive emotion, as it encourages the individual to make optimal use of self-resources to employ them in various areas of life (Al-Sasafa et al., 2021) because gratitude is the foundation of mental well-being and health (Sood & Gupta, 2012). Wood et al. (2009) revealed that gratitude has a great relationship with the components of psychological well-being, such as environmental mastery, positive relationships, life goals, and self-acceptance. ...
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Having a child with an autistic spectrum disorder is a challenge for parents, especially mothers, which can hinder the fulfillment of optimal psychological functions so that the mother’s psychological well-being is disturbed. Internal situations such as gratitude and the presence of external support from the family can be factors that can encourage increased psychological well-being in mothers. This study observed the effects of gratitude and family support on mothers’ psychological well-being with children with an autism spectrum disorder. The instruments in this study used the gratitude scale, the family support scale and Ryff’s Psychological Well-Being Scales-short version distributed online. The subject in this study was 98 people, and the data collected were analyzed using the Doubled Linear Regression test using JASP software. The results showed the significance value of p0.05; thus, gratitude and family support had a role or effect on mothers’ psychological well-being with children with an autism spectrum disorder. Meanwhile, the effective contribution for gratitude was 17.39%, and family support was 21.53%. For future research, gratitude and emotion-based therapies such as emotion regulation training can be used as an intervention in experimental research to improve psychological well-being.
... We offer a concise review of relevant scholarly findings spanning the past decade. There is rising interest in understanding the mental health status of adolescents from diverse parts of India (e.g., Harikrishnan et al., 2017;Halli et al., 2021) and the socio-demographic factors related to their mental health and wellness (e.g., Singh & Raina, 2019;Singh et al., 2015;Sood & Gupta, 2012). ...
This chapter focuses on positive adolescent development and the role of gratitude in particular in promoting adolescent well-being. A global view on the subject is offered, with a specific focus on the Indian cultural context. The chapter consists of three main sections. The first section offers various perspectives on adolescent development, emphasizing a strengths-based approach. It highlights empirical findings on how gratitude benefits adolescents. This section also presents the cross-cultural and indigenous Indian aspects of gratitude. The second part describes an empirical study involving gratitude journaling among Indian adolescents. Study findings and implications are discussed. The third and final section of this chapter presents both Indian and international scenarios towards positive adolescent development and concludes by proposing future recommendations.
... We offer a concise review of relevant scholarly findings spanning the past decade. There is rising interest in understanding the mental health status of adolescents from diverse parts of India (e.g., Harikrishnan et al., 2017;Halli et al., 2021) and the socio-demographic factors related to their mental health and wellness (e.g., Singh & Raina, 2019;Sood & Gupta, 2012). ...
The chapter discusses peer relations in adolescents which has a significant impact on their life. It colours and shapes the perception and behaviour of adolescents to a great extent. Peers and friends play an important role in the socialization process of children and affect various developmental aspects. The shifting influence of family to peers as children grow leads to generation gaps and may create negative parent–child communication and other behavioural problems including risk-taking behaviours. The chapter explains the development of peer relations, romantic relations, and the various factors affecting peer relations such as social media. Peer victimization affects the adolescent development and interpersonal relationship in a significant way. Finally, the chapter deliberates on managing peer relations so as to make a positive impact on the adolescent development.
This research aimed to investigate psychometric properties of the Existential Gratitude Scale (EGS) in India. Study 1 examined the factorial validity of EGS using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, which suggested a two-factor structure. Study 2 examined reliability and validity of the scale derived after CFA (referred to as Indian EGS). Cronbach’s alpha and composite reliability estimates provided evidence for internal consistency reliability of the Indian EGS. Adequate AVE values indicated convergent validity of the scale. Further, the EGS score reported significant positive correlations with GRAT-16 and spiritual well-being scores and a negative association with distress scores, confirming criterion validity of the Indian EGS. These results establish reliability and validity of the two-factored twelve-item EGS scale in the Indian context.
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This article reviews all published studies reporting tests for sex differences in well-being. Women were found to report greater happiness and life satisfaction than men. This sex difference was explained in terms of men's and women's social roles: The female (vs. male) gender role specifies greater emotional responsiveness. Furthermore, past role-related experiences provide women with appropriate skills and attitudes. Women's (vs. men's) greater well-being was also found to hold for married but not unmarried Ss: For both sexes the married state (vs. unmarried) was associated with favorable well-being, but the favorable outcomes proved stronger for women than men. Given that most Ss were married, the overall sex difference in well-being can be attributed to Ss' marital status. These findings were discussed in the context of prior research on sex differences in negative well-being. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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.
In four studies, the authors examined the correlates of the disposition toward gratitude. Study 1 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 1 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.
In this research it is aimed that the effect of some demographic factors on Turkish Adolescents' subjective well being is investigated. 432 adolescents who are 247 girls and 185 boys are participated in this study. They are ages 15-17, and also are high school students. The Positive and Negative Affect Scale and Life Satisfaction Scale are used for measuring adolescents' subjective well being. The ANOVA method is used in order to examine the effect of ages. For gender differences, independent t-test method is used, and finally the Pearson Correlation method is used so as to examine the effect of socio economic statues of adolescents' parents. According to results, there is no gender difference on adolescents' subjective well being. On the other hand, SES and age are effect significantly lover level on adolescents' subjective well being.
This chapter examines the feeling of being grateful. It suggests feeling grateful is similar to other positive emotions that help build a person's enduring personal resources and broaden an individual's thinking. It describes various ways by which gratitude can transform individuals, organizations, and communities in positive and sustaining ways. It discusses the specific benefits of gratitude including personal and social development, community strength and individual health and well-being.
Traditional research into values has tended to dichotomise young people into categories of self and other orientations. In the present study values were explored within a contemporary context and analysed into more complex value sets. The sample comprised of 111 girls and 133 boys, aged 11-16 (mean = 13.2, SD = 1.14), who responded to four open-ended sentences designed to tap philosophies of life, fears and underlying values. The pleasures in life for girls tended to centre on relationships with family, friends and boys, whereas boys enjoyed activities such as sport. Many desired to win the National Lottery, although they also concurrently held humanistic values. The potential impact of these value sets on development during adolescence is discussed. For these young people, the best things in life are free but, like many adults, they dream of fame and fortune.
The aim of this study was to determine whether men and women differ with regard to aspects of psychological well-being. For the purposes of this study, a meta-analysis was performed on data from a trans-university project, involving a multicultural availability sample of 378. The participants each completed 13 scales that measure psychological well-being in affective, physical, cognitive, spiritual, self and social aspects. Statistically significant gender differences with small to medium practical effects were found. Men scored higher on physical selfconcept, automatic thoughts (positive), constructive thinking, cognitive flexibility, total self-concept, and fortitude. Women scored higher on the expression of affect, somatic symptoms, and religious well-being. No significant gender differences were found on sense of coherence, satisfaction with life, affect balance, emotional intelligence, self-efficacy, and the social components of self-concept and of fortitude. The results are in line with gender stereotypes and traditional socialisation practices and possibly reflect the impact of longstanding social inequity between men and women.