Individual differences in gratitude and their relationship with well-being
Wood, Alexander Mathew
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.
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