Document Type

Honors Project


Prior research has found that trait gratitude is closely associated with enhanced mental and physical wellbeing. Interventions that seek to increase gratitude, such as daily listing of what one is grateful for, have been shown to decrease depressive symptoms and to increase positive affect as well as life satisfaction. This study sought to examine whether tailoring specific gratitude interventions to people with high vs. low dysphoria, a form of subclinical depression, might produce additional benefits given the unique characteristics of each group. We also tested whether a cognitive or an affective mechanism better explains gratitude’s effect on wellbeing. Results showed that participants substantially decreased their depressive symptoms after any of three different gratitude interventions. However, the three interventions did not differ from one another in enhancing wellbeing, and we were unable to test whether the affective or cognitive mechanism underlies the salubrious effect of grateful processing. We concluded that gratitude interventions work regardless of whether they involve processing of positive or negative content. We recommend future research examine the possibility of combining different gratitude interventions and the efficacy of such intervention as a pre-treatment solution for people who are waiting for professional help.

Included in

Psychology Commons



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