Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Individual differences in gratitude and their relationship with well-being

By Alexander Mathew Wood


Ten studies are presented which show how and why individual differences in gratitude are related to well-being, with six key conclusions.\ud \ud Grateful people view the help they receive in everyday life as more costly, valuable, and altruistically intended. Cross-sectional (n=253), multi-level process (n=113), and experimental (n=200) studies showed these attributional biases explain why trait and state levels of gratitude are linked.\ud \ud Trait gratitude involves the habitual focusing on the positive in the world, suggesting why gratitude is linked to well-being. Two studies (n=206 and n=389) presented exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis showing that each of the existing measure of gratitude and appreciation (the GQ-6, GRAT, and Appreciation Scale) assess the same latent construct.\ud \ud Two studies (n=389) and (n=201) show gratitude is uniquely linked to subjective well-being (satisfaction with life) and psychological well-being (personal growth, positive relationships with others, purpose in life, and self-acceptance), after controlling for the 30 facets of the Five Factor Model.\ud \ud Two longitudinal studies (n=156 and n=87) showed that during a life transition, gratitude led to lower stress and depression, and higher perceived social support. Structural equation modelling disproved other models of causality.\ud \ud Grateful people were shown to use more adaptive coping strategies, characterised by seeking help from others and actively coping rather than avoiding the problem. Across two samples (n=236) these adaptive coping strategies were shown to partially explain why grateful people feel lower level of stress in life.\ud \ud In a large community sample (n=401, 40% with clinically impaired sleep) grateful people had a better quality of sleep.\ud \ud Together, the ten studies show that individual differences in gratitude (1) are related to specific information processing biases, (2) involved a habitual orientation towards noticing and appreciating the positive in life, (3) uniquely predict well-being, (4) lead to well-being over time, (5) are related to positive coping, and (6) predict better sleeping quality

Topics: BF, BJ
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2008). (in press). The role of gratitude in the development of social support, stress, and depression: Two longitudinal studies. doi
  2. (1999). A measure of subjective happiness: Preliminary reliability and construct validation.
  3. (1996). A model of the cl--fects of perceived parent and peer support on adolescent false self behavior. '141 Child Development, doi
  4. (2001). A scaled difference chi-square test statistic for moment structure analysis. doi
  5. (1959). A theory of therapy, personality and interpersonal relation- 144 ships as developed in the client-centered framework.
  6. (1980). A way of being. doi
  7. (2005). Authenticity and alienation: Towards an understanding of the person beyond the categories of order and disorder.
  8. (2002). Authenticity. In doi
  9. (1998). Carl Rogers' helping system: Journey and substance. doi
  10. (2004). Client-centred therapy, post-traumatic stress disorder and posttraumatic growth: Theoretical perspectives and practical implications. doi
  11. (1986). Comparison of five rules for determining the number of components to retain. doi
  12. (2000). Construct explication through factor or component analysis: A review and evaluation of alternative procedures for determining the number of factors or components. In doi
  13. (1995). Constructing validity: Basic issues in objective scale development. doi
  14. (1994). Contributions of existential psychotherapy. In doi
  15. (2007). Coping style as a psychological resource of grateful people. doi
  16. (2006). Counseling psychology's positive psychological agenda: A model for integration and inspiration. Counseling Psychologist, doi
  17. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indices in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, doi
  18. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect - the PANAS scales. doi
  19. (1995). Domains and facets: Hierarchical personality assessment using the revised NEO personality inventory. doi
  20. (1999). Evaluating the use of exploratory factor analysis in psychological research. doi
  21. (1980). Existential psychotherapy. doi
  22. (1981). Freedom and destiny.
  23. (2005). From thought and experience to behavior and interpersonal relationships: A multicomponent conceptualization of authenticity. In
  24. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it - explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. doi
  25. (2004). Integrity (honesty/authenticity). In
  26. (2004). Introduction: Strengths of courage. In
  27. (1971). Manual for the profile e1 mood states.
  28. (1951). Neurosis and human growth. doi
  29. (1961). On becoming a person: A therapist's view of psychotherapy.
  30. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of *PsYchology, doi
  31. (1994). One personality, multiple selves - integrating personality and social roles. doi
  32. (2002). Optimizing well-being: The empirical encounter of two traditions. doi
  33. (1988). Perceived stress in a probability sample of the united states.
  34. (2007). Person-centered personality theory: Support from self-determination theory and positive psychology. doi
  35. (2005). Person-centred psychopathology: :1 posiLive psychology of mental health: Ross-on-Wye,
  36. (1998). Personal projects, happiness, and meaning: On 4 doing well and being yourself. doi
  37. (2005). Positive adjustment to threatening events: An organismic valuing theory of growth through adversity. Review of General Ps Ychology, doi
  38. (2002). Positive emotions trigger upward spirals toward emotional well-being. doi
  39. (2006). Positive psychology: Past, present, and (possible) future. doi
  40. (2006). Positive therapy A meta-theoryfor positi%'e p, s. i -chological practice.
  41. (2000). Posttraumatic stress disorder following political imprisonment: The role of mental defeat, alienation, and perceived permanent change. doi
  42. (2006). Preliminary development and validation of a measure of relationship authenticity. doi
  43. (1993). Review of the satisfaction with life scale. doi
  44. (2001). Rogers' therapeutic conditions: Evolution, theory and practice.
  45. (2001). Social roles as mechanisms for psychological need satisfaction within social groups. doi
  46. (1998). Social stigma. In doi
  47. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. doi
  48. (2000). SPSS and SAS programs for determining the number of components using parallel analysis and Velicer's MAP test. doi
  49. (2004). Strengths of character and wellbeing. doi
  50. (2004). Testing for multigroup invariance using AMOS graphics: A road less traveled. Structural Equation Modeling, doi
  51. (2002). The authenticity of conflict resolutions among adult couples: Does women's other-oriented behavior reflect their true selves? Sex Roles,
  52. (1999). The big five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and theoretical perspectives.
  53. (1992). The development of markers for the big-five factor structure. doi
  54. (2002). The grateful disposition: A conceptual and empirical topography. doi
  55. (1965). The maturational processes and the facilitating environment.
  56. (2002). The role of authenticiy in healthy psychological functioning and subjective well-being.
  57. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. doi
  58. (1995). The structure of psychological well-being revisited. doi
  59. (2003). Toward a conceptualization of optimal self-esteem. doi
  60. (1964). Toward a modern approach to values: The valuing process in the mature person. doi
  61. (1997). Trait self and true self: Cross-role variation in the big-five personality traits and its relations with psychological authenticity and subjective well-being. doi
  62. (1984). Two-component models of socially desirable responding. doi
  63. (1987). Uses of factor-analysis in counseling psychology research. doi
  64. (2000). Using the implicit association test to measure self-esteem and self-concept. doi
  65. (2005). What (and why) is positive psychology? Review of General Psychology, doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.