Sense of Gratitude In Relation to Individuals‟ Perception Toward Forgiveness 87
SENSE OF GRATITUDE IN RELATION TO INDIVIDUALS’
PERCEPTION TOWARD FORGIVENESS AND RELATIONSHIP
Jannatul Ferdous, Kishor Roy* and Tahmina Ahmed
Department of Psychology, Jagannath University, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Received: 11 October 2021, Accepted: 08 June 2022
The goal of this study was to see how forgiveness tendencies and relationship
satisfaction influenced people's sense of gratitude or feelings of thankfulness.
Following the purposive sampling technique, data was collected from 202
respondents who were either married or engaged in a romantic relationship using
the translated Bangla form of the Heartland Forgiveness Scale and Gratitude
Questionnaire and the adapted Bangla version of the Relationship Assessment
Scale. Individuals' feelings of thankfulness were shown to be substantially
connected with perceived forgiveness (r = .331, p < .01) and relationship
satisfaction (r = .433, p < .01). The two independent variables, forgiveness and
relationship satisfaction, have a significant inter-correlation (r = .231, p < .01).
Furthermore, these two variables were predictors of people's feelings of
gratitude, accounting for 24.4 percent of the variation. Relationship satisfaction
was the largest predictor, accounting for 18.8% of the variation in feelings of
gratitude. The findings of this study can be extremely beneficial to mental health
practitioners in developing and implementing intervention strategies to expand
the sense of gratitude, forgiveness tendencies, and satisfaction toward one's
partner in order to promote positive mental health.
Keywords: Gratitude, forgiveness, relationship satisfaction
Gratitude can be described as a feeling of gratefulness, thankfulness, or any other similar pleasant
emotion felt and/or expressed by the receiver of compassion, presents, support, favoritisms, or
other forms of kindness to the giver of those assistances (Polikarpov, 1996; John, 1814). Sansone
and Sansone (2010) defined it as a general sense of appreciativeness for what is advantageous and
relevant to oneself. According to Emmons and Crumpler (2000) gratitude is an emotional
response to a gift and appreciation felt when one has been the recipient of kind and humanitarian
act. Gratitude, according to positive psychology, is more than just feeling thankful: it is a deeper
appreciation for someone or something that leads to longer-lasting happiness and positivity.
Jagannath University Journal of Life and Earth Sciences, 7(2):87-94 pISSN 2414-1402, eISSN 2791-1845
88 Ferdous et al.
The systematic study of gratitude in psychology began in 1998 when Martin Seligman developed
a new area of psychology called „positive psychology‟ (Emmons and Crumpler, 2000). It has been
a topic of interest to the ancient, medieval, and modern as well as contemporary philosophers
(Manela, 2015). The sensation of gratitude, according to Emmons and McCullough (2003) has
two stages: (a) the acknowledgment of kindness in one's life; and (b) admitting that some of this
goodness comes from sources other than oneself. The first level of thankfulness is to admit the
wonderful in our life, and the second stage is to consider how this goodness came to us externally.
Gratitude has been related to a variety of excellent life outcomes, including greater mental and
physical health, and relationships of high quality (Diener and Tay, 2017). Gratitude and
forgiveness, these two human qualities might be considered as human strengths (Peterson and
Seligman, 2004). However, forgiveness is the polar opposite of appreciation which can be defined
as conscious, deliberate and constructive response to let go of sentiments of hatreds or revenge
toward a person or group of people‟s wrongdoings and contraventions, regardless of whether or
not they deserve forgiveness, by delivering kindness and compassion (Joanna, 1998; Doka, 2017).
It's not about forgetting, reconciling, or even reuniting with the individual for whom forgiveness
has been expressed. In actuality, forgiveness has everything to do with one's own heart and has
nothing to do with the other person. When a person does not forgive someone, he or she feels
rage, resentment, and hurt, and these feelings are harmful to him or her both emotionally or
physically (Witvli et al. 2001).
Prior studies possess that forgiveness has been linked to overall relationship satisfaction. Rusbult
and Buunk (1993) defined satisfaction in relationship as an interpersonal assessment of one's
partner's positive feelings and attractiveness to the relationship. The tendency to forgive one‟s
spouse or love partner boosts relationship pleasure by reducing negative conflict and increasing
relational effort (Braithwaite et al. 2011). It has been discovered that the possibility of forgiving in
intimate relationships has an impact on couples' happiness levels (Paleari et al. 2005). Willingness
to forgive is a crucial element that elongates and preserves romantic or marital partnerships for
the people who are in long-term romantic relationships or marriages (Fincham et al. 2002).
Fincham (2009) also considered it as one of the most significant aspects of keeping a happy and
healthy romantic relationship.
Rationale of the study
Gratitude is a naturally satisfying activity that makes people gracious. It might help one to form
new social relationships or strengthen old ones. Even in times of struggle and transition, so many
people can benefit from this common practice of expressing gratitude for their lives. Raising one's
sense of thankfulness, satisfaction with one's relationship, and forgiveness tendency all are
important factors in staying mentally and physically healthy and sound. A large body of positive
psychology studies around the world has focused on the relationship between forgiveness,
gratitude, and relationship satisfaction (Diener and Tay, 2017; Braithwaite et al. 2011; Fincham,
2009; Peterson and Seligman, 2004; Rusbult and Buunk, 1993). Majority of the studies were
carried out in Western culture, and equivalent endeavors in Bangladesh appear to be rare. It is
difficult to locate a conclusive study on the impact of perceived forgiveness and relationship
satisfaction on people's feelings of gratitude in Bangladesh. The current study intends to analyze
Sense of Gratitude In Relation to Individuals‟ Perception Toward Forgiveness 89
the link between the factors and their influences on one another in order to fill this gap in the
literature. The present study's findings will add to the existing literature, and the results may aid in
the implementation of essential activities to encourage individuals to become more involved in
Objectives of the study
The main objective of this study was to see how people's feelings of thankfulness were affected by
their perceptions of forgiveness and relationship satisfaction. The study's specific goals were:
i) To determine whether people's perceptions of forgiveness is related to gratitude or
ii) To determine whether relationship satisfaction is related to gratitude or thankfulness in
iii) To examine the impact of forgiveness and relationship satisfaction on gratitude, both
individually and in combination.
Materials and Methods
Purposive sampling was used to choose a total of 202 respondents, ranging in age from 18 to 42
years old. All of the participants were married or in a romantic relationship at the time of data
collection. There were 39.1% males and 60.9% females among them. The following table 1 shows
the demographics of the participants:
Table 1. Demographic information of the participants.
Upper middle class
Note: N = 202
90 Ferdous et al.
The following tools were utilized to conduct the research-
1. The Gratitude Questionnaire- Six Item Form (GQ-6)
2. The Heartland Forgiveness Scale (HFS)
3. The Relationship Assessment Scale (RAS)
A personal information form (PIF) was also utilized to collect demographic data such as the age,
gender, family type, relationship status, and socioeconomic status of the participants.
Description of the Instruments
1. Gratitude Questionnaire- Six Item Form (GQ-6)
The Gratitude Questionnaire-Six-Item Form (GQ-6; McCullough et al. 2002) is self-report
questionnaire that assesses individual differences in the likelihood of experiencing gratitude in
everyday life. The scale has six items, two of which are negative (items 3 and 6) and the other
four are positive. It's a seven-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly
agree). For negative elements, the order is reversed. The overall score of the scale for an
individual was the sum of all item scores. A high score implies a great level of gratitude. The
current researchers translated this scale. The scale's internal consistency alpha was found .73.
2. The Heartland Forgiveness Scale (HFS)
HFS was developed by Thompson and Snyder (2003). It is an 18-item self-report questionnaire
that measures a person's overall willingness to forgive. For the HFS, four scores are calculated.
Each of the three HFS subscales has its own score, as does the Total HFS (Forgiveness of Self
subscale, Forgiveness of Others subscale, and Forgiveness of Situations subscale). Total HFS
scores vary from 18 to 126, indicating how forgiving someone is of themselves, others, and
uncontrollable circumstances in general. The three HFS subscales have scores ranging from 6 to
42, which indicate how forgiving one is towards oneself, others, and situations beyond one's
control, respectively. Higher scores imply higher forgiveness levels, whereas lower scores suggest
low forgiveness levels. Scores of 31 are average on the three subscales, while a score of 93 is
average on the Total Forgiveness scale. This scale was translated by the present researchers.
Internal consistency alpha for forgiveness of self was .76, for forgiveness of others was .79, for
forgiveness of situation was .76 and for overall HFS overall .85.
3. The Relationship Assessment Scale (RAS)
The Bangla version (Chowdhury et al. 2016) of RAS was originally developed by Hendrick in
1988. The responses were graded on a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (low satisfaction)
to 5 (high satisfaction). Negative items (items 4 and 7) were scored in the opposite direction. After
summing the individual scores of the seven items, respondents‟ total score is found. The scale‟s
scores range from 7 to 35. The higher the scores, the greater the level of satisfaction. The validity
and reliability of the Bangla RAS are excellent (Cronbach's Alpha of .86, split-half reliability of
.82, and test-retest reliability of .88).
Sense of Gratitude In Relation to Individuals‟ Perception Toward Forgiveness 91
The current study was conducted using a cross-sectional survey research design.
Initially, permission was sought from the participants. To obtain consent, each respondent was
informed of the study's overall purpose at the outset. The information was gathered through the
above-mentioned questionnaires from respondents who were spontaneous and enthusiastic about
the study. The responders were also informed that any information they provided would be kept
private. They were given written and spoken directions to clarify what they were supposed to
accomplish and how to fill out all of the surveys. After the survey was completed, all of the
respondents were thanked for their time.
Results and Discussion
The present study was intended to explore how people's judgments of forgiveness and relationship
satisfaction influenced their sentiments of gratitude. Pearson product moment correlation and
multiple regression analysis were used to analyze the data. The results are provided in the tables
Table 2. Correlations among perceived forgiveness, relationship satisfaction and gratitude.
2. Relationship Satisfaction
** p < .01, N = 202
Table 2 shows that respondents' feelings of thankfulness were significantly connected with
perceived forgiveness (r = .331, p < .01) and relationship satisfaction (r = .433, p < .01). There
was also an inter-correlation between two independent variables, perceived forgiveness and
relationship satisfaction (r = .231, p < .01), according to the findings. These outcomes are in line
with earlier studies as well (Diener and Tay, 2017; Braithwaite et al. 2011; Fincham, 2009;
Peterson and Seligman, 2004; Rusbult and Buunk, 1993). Many things can evoke positive feelings
of gratitude or appreciation, which can lead to a good and joyful interpersonal connection. The
ability to forgive one's spouse or love partner enhances relationship satisfaction and sense of
gratitude among the individuals. The more a person's proclivity for forgiving, the happier he or
she is in a romantic relationship and the more grateful he or she is.
A multiple regression was carried out to investigate whether forgiveness tendency and relationship
satisfaction could significantly predict participants‟ sense of gratitude. Table 3 shows the average
and standard deviation of the scores.
92 Ferdous et al.
Table 3. Means and standard deviations of the scores for forgiveness, relationship
satisfaction and respondents’ sense of gratitude.
According to table 3, the mean scores for forgiveness, relationship satisfaction, and gratitude were
78.33, 27.46, and 30.75, respectively.
Table 4. Results of multiple regression of forgiveness and relationship satisfaction.
Dependent variable: Sense of Gratitude
According to table 4, the partial standardized betas (β s) suggested that the two independent
variables in the model, perceived forgiveness (β = .244, p < .001) and relationship satisfaction (β
= .377, p < .001), were predictors of gratitude or feelings of thankfulness. The strongest predictor
in this case was relationship satisfaction. Gratitude and forgiveness have been shown to influence
relationship satisfaction in previous studies. However, the current data imply that forgiveness and
relationship satisfaction can both predict thankfulness. The relationship between these three
factors can be thought of as reciprocal: higher levels of forgiveness tendencies can boost
relationship satisfaction, which in turn can boost feelings of gratitude.
Table 5. Selected statistic from regression of sense of gratitude on forgiveness (HFS)
and relationship satisfaction (RS).
RS and HFS
Dependent variable: Sense of Gratitude
Note: R = Multiple correlation coefficient, R² = Variability
The R value in the above table 5 reveals the strength of the link between the dependent variable
(sense of gratitude) and all of the independent or predictor variables (relationship satisfaction and
forgiveness) together. Here, R = .494, which is a satisfactory connection. This indicates that the
current model is a relatively acceptable predictor of the outcome. R2 value indicated that the two
variables jointly explained 24.4% of the variance in people‟s sense of gratitude. Here, relationship
Sense of Gratitude In Relation to Individuals‟ Perception Toward Forgiveness 93
satisfaction was the largest predictor of respondents' gratitude or feelings of thankfulness,
accounting for 18.8% of the variance. Forgiveness was found to be another predictor of gratitude,
accounting for 5.6 percent of the variation.
Table 6. Results of overall F-test for regression of gratitude on perceived forgiveness and
Source of variance
Predictors: Perceived Forgiveness and relationship satisfaction
Dependent variable: Gratitude
Note: SS= Sum of Square, df = Degree of Freedom, MS= Mean Square
Table 6 indicated that the model was significant. The significant F [F (2, 199) = 32.096, p < .001]
for the model showed that the variation in gratitude was accounted for by joint linear influences of
perceived forgiveness and relationship satisfaction. So, it can be said that these two variables were
significant predictors of people's feelings of gratitude.
The current study has its own virtues in which it sheds light on areas that need more attention and
investigation. Gratitude, forgiveness, and relationship satisfaction could all be feasible areas of
intervention in handling of emotional disturbances, as well as taking enlightening initiatives aimed
at improving mental health. The current study has a number of flaws that point to future research
directions. The number of subjects involved in future studies should be increased. However,
further research is needed to include additional variables like subjective well-being, life
satisfaction, happiness, and so on that may influence people's feelings of thankfulness.
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