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Gratitude in children and adolescents: Development, assessment, and school-based intervention

By Jeffrey J. Froh, David N. Miller and Stephanie F. Snyder


ABSTRACT: Gratitude is an important component of positive psychology and essential to living the good life, but until recently psychologists have largely ignored it. Although the developmental trajectory of gratitude remains unclear, children seem to first experience and express gratitude around 6–8 years of age. Unfortunately, gratitude measures designed specifically for youth are currently nonexistent. Therefore, although data support using adult gratitude scales with children and adolescents, youth measures are needed. Gratitude is related to a host of positive outcomes, including subjective well-being, relational support, and prosocial behavior. Counting blessings daily for 2 weeks has been associated with greater school satisfaction at immediate posttest and at 3-week follow-up. Beyond improving social and emotional functioning, gratitude also may promote academic gains via achievement motivation. School psychologists should consider gratitude a viable path for promoting positive youth development in the context of both assessment and intervention. Practical implications for school psychologists are discussed. There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy. —Ralph Blu

Year: 2007
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