Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life

Robert A. Emmons, Michael McCullough

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Abstract

The effect of a grateful outlook on psychological and physical well-being was examined. In Studies 1 and 2, participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 experimental conditions (hassles, gratitude listing, and either neutral life events or social comparison); they then kept weekly (Study 1) or daily (Study 2) records of their moods, coping behaviors, health behaviors, physical symptoms, and overall life appraisals. In a 3rd study, persons with neuromuscular disease were randomly assigned to either the gratitude condition or to a control condition. The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the 3 studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.

LanguageEnglish
Pages377-389
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume84
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

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well-being
coping behavior
Neuromuscular Diseases
Psychological Adaptation
Health Behavior
health behavior
mood
Group
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Psychology
Disease
human being
event

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

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