Presentation Title

The Effects of Gratitude Journaling on Emotions and Happiness and the Influence of Personality and Timing

Faculty Mentor

Barbara Thayer, Ph.D.

Start Date

18-11-2017 12:30 PM

End Date

18-11-2017 1:30 PM

Location

BSC-Ursa Minor 2

Session

Poster 2

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated the positive effects of gratitude practices for individuals; however, the role of personality and cognitive factors is unclear. The current study investigated the effects of gratitude journaling on happiness and the experience of positive and negative emotions and asked whether aspects of personality influenced the benefits of a gratitude practice. Time of gratitude journaling was also investigated to explore potential underlying cognitive mechanisms. Participants completed four measures: The 5-Factor (Big 5) Model of personality assessment , the Authentic Happiness Inventory (AHI), the General Happiness Scale (GHS), and the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS). For the next 10 days, either in the morning or the evening, each participant completed a gratitude journal entry containing 5 items. Each item was subjectively selected by the participant as something they were “grateful for.” After 10 days participants again completed the assessments. Control subjects completed the assessments 10 days apart without participating in the gratitude journaling. Statistical analysis showed that contrary to our hypothesis, participants did not experience a significant change in positive or negative emotions as a function of keeping a gratitude journal. Similarly, no change was seen in the AHI. However, the GHS showed a significant difference between the two time points, with participants experiencing greater happiness after keeping the gratitude journal. Neither extraversion or neuroticism had a statistically significant impact on the findings. Time of journaling likewise did not influence the benefit of journaling. Keeping a gratitude journal may increase happiness but the measures of happiness may be differentially sensitive. Future directions include other measures of happiness and well-being as well as extending the sample population beyond students.

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Nov 18th, 12:30 PM Nov 18th, 1:30 PM

The Effects of Gratitude Journaling on Emotions and Happiness and the Influence of Personality and Timing

BSC-Ursa Minor 2

Previous research has demonstrated the positive effects of gratitude practices for individuals; however, the role of personality and cognitive factors is unclear. The current study investigated the effects of gratitude journaling on happiness and the experience of positive and negative emotions and asked whether aspects of personality influenced the benefits of a gratitude practice. Time of gratitude journaling was also investigated to explore potential underlying cognitive mechanisms. Participants completed four measures: The 5-Factor (Big 5) Model of personality assessment , the Authentic Happiness Inventory (AHI), the General Happiness Scale (GHS), and the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS). For the next 10 days, either in the morning or the evening, each participant completed a gratitude journal entry containing 5 items. Each item was subjectively selected by the participant as something they were “grateful for.” After 10 days participants again completed the assessments. Control subjects completed the assessments 10 days apart without participating in the gratitude journaling. Statistical analysis showed that contrary to our hypothesis, participants did not experience a significant change in positive or negative emotions as a function of keeping a gratitude journal. Similarly, no change was seen in the AHI. However, the GHS showed a significant difference between the two time points, with participants experiencing greater happiness after keeping the gratitude journal. Neither extraversion or neuroticism had a statistically significant impact on the findings. Time of journaling likewise did not influence the benefit of journaling. Keeping a gratitude journal may increase happiness but the measures of happiness may be differentially sensitive. Future directions include other measures of happiness and well-being as well as extending the sample population beyond students.