دانلود مقاله ISI انگلیسی شماره 37986
عنوان فارسی مقاله

شمارش مواهب در نوجوانان: مطالعه تجربی از قدردانی و بهزیستی ذهنی

کد مقاله سال انتشار مقاله انگلیسی ترجمه فارسی تعداد کلمات
37986 2008 21 صفحه PDF سفارش دهید محاسبه نشده
خرید مقاله
پس از پرداخت، فوراً می توانید مقاله را دانلود فرمایید.
عنوان انگلیسی
Counting blessings in early adolescents: An experimental study of gratitude and subjective well-being
منبع

Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)

Journal : Journal of School Psychology, Volume 46, Issue 2, April 2008, Pages 213–233

کلمات کلیدی
قدردانی - بهزیستی ذهنی - نوجوان - روانشناسی مثبت - مداخله
پیش نمایش مقاله
پیش نمایش مقاله شمارش مواهب در نوجوانان: مطالعه تجربی از قدردانی و بهزیستی ذهنی

چکیده انگلیسی

Abstract The development and manifestation of gratitude in youth is unclear. We examined the effects of a grateful outlook on subjective well-being and other outcomes of positive psychological functioning in 221 early adolescents. Eleven classes were randomly assigned to either a gratitude, hassles, or control condition. Results indicated that counting blessings was associated with enhanced self-reported gratitude, optimism, life satisfaction, and decreased negative affect. Feeling grateful in response to aid mediated the relationship between experimental condition and general gratitude at the 3-week follow-up. The most significant finding was the robust relationship between gratitude and satisfaction with school experience at both the immediate post-test and 3-week follow-up. Counting blessings seems to be an effective intervention for well-being enhancement in early adolescents

مقدمه انگلیسی

Introduction Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. — Cicero Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend, more hideous when thou show'st thee in a child than the sea-monster! — Shakespeare's King Lear A class of students was asked to identify the Seven Wonders of the World. With some minor disagreement, the following received the most attention: Egypt's great pyramids, Taj Mahal, Grand Canyon, Panama Canal, Empire State Building, St. Peter's Basilica, and China's Great Wall. However, there was one student who did not complete the assignment in time. When her teacher approached her, she stated that she was having some difficulty because there was so much to be grateful for and she could not decide that easily. Upon further inquiry, the student maintained that the Seven Wonders of the World were: to see, to hear, to touch, to taste, to feel, to laugh, and to love (C. Colligan, personal communication, February 27, 2006). Gratitude can be conceptualized as a virtue or as an emotional state. From the perspectives of moral philosophy and theology, gratitude is seen as a human strength that enhances one's personal and relational well-being and is beneficial for society as a whole (Simmel, 1950). McCullough, Kilpatrick, Emmons, and Larson (2001) theorized that gratitude is a moral affect—that is, one with moral precursors and consequences. They hypothesized that by experiencing gratitude, a person is motivated to carry out prosocial behavior, energized to sustain moral behaviors, and is inhibited from committing destructive interpersonal behaviors. Specifically, they posited that gratitude serves as a moral barometer, providing individuals with an affective readout that accompanies the perception that another person has treated them prosocially. Second, they posited that gratitude serves as a moral motive, stimulating people to behave prosocially after they have been the beneficiaries of other people's prosocial behavior. Third, they posited that gratitude serves as a moral reinforcer, encouraging prosocial behavior by reinforcing people for their previous good deeds. McCullough et al. adduced evidence from a wide variety of studies in personality, social, developmental and evolutionary psychology to support this conceptualization. As an emotion, gratitude stems from the perception that one has experienced a positive outcome that has been intentionally provided by another person or “moral agent,” often but not necessarily a person (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). The object of gratitude is other-directed to persons, as well as to impersonal (nature) or non-human sources (God, animals, the cosmos). Gratitude may be defined as “a sense of thankfulness and joy in response to receiving a gift, whether the gift be a tangible benefit from a specific other or a moment of peaceful bliss evoked by natural beauty” (Peterson & Seligman, 2004, p. 554). As an emotion, gratitude is an attribution-dependent state that results from two stages of information processing: (a) recognizing that one has obtained a positive outcome; and (b) recognizing that there is an external source for this positive outcome. In the present study, we operationalize gratitude in a manner identical to that followed by Emmons and McCullough (2003) in their gratitude intervention studies. Specifically, we ask school-aged children to focus on things in their lives for which they are grateful or thankful. Previous research has demonstrated this to be an effective strategy for activating grateful thoughts and feelings (Emmons and McCullough, 2003 and Sheldon and Lyubomirsky, 2006). Although embraced by philosophers, theologians, and popular authors, until recently gratitude has been largely ignored by the field of psychology (Emmons, 2004). Moreover, what research there is has been conducted solely with adults, resulting in a dearth of research on gratitude with children and adolescent populations. Given gratitude's relationship to happiness, hope, pride, optimism, positive mood, self-actualization, smooth interpersonal relationships, and a sense of community (Emmons & Shelton, 2002), a rigorous investigation of this positive emotion is vital if optimal psychological growth among early/late adolescents is to be fully understood. To this end, the purpose of the present investigation was to make the first attempt at determining the relationship between gratitude inducing behaviors (e.g., counting blessings) and well-being within an early adolescent population. Gratitude in childhood and adolescence Developmental theorists from Melanie Klein to the present considered gratitude a capacity present from birth that develops as the child's cognitive and emotional systems mature. Klein (1957) viewed gratitude as a developmental achievement and hallmark of emotional maturity that “underlies the appreciation of goodness in others and in oneself” (Klein, p. 187). Research has shown that children's comprehension of gratitude is a process played out over several years. More specifically, gratitude does not appear to occur regularly in response to receiving benefits until middle childhood (Emmons & Shelton, 2002). Gleason and Weintraub (1976), for example, found that few children (i.e., 21%) younger than 6 years of age expressed thanks to adults who gave them candy, whereas most children (i.e., more than 80%) of 10 years of age or older expressed gratitude in the same situation. Based on these data, it appears that the link between attributions of responsibility for positive outcomes, the experience of gratitude, and the desire to do good to one's benefactor probably is solidified between ages 7 and 10 (see also Graham and Weiner, 1986 and Weiner and Graham, 1988, for reviews). The developmental research that exists has focused nearly exclusively on children's understanding of the situational antecedents of gratitude or their beliefs about gratitude as an emotion concept (e.g., Russell & Paris, 1994), not the actual experience of gratitude. A notable exception that examined gratitude-inducing experiences in children was a recent study that analyzed archival (newspaper) accounts of what school-aged children said they were thankful for in the aftermath of September 11th, 2001 (Gordon, Musher-Eizenman, Holub, & Dalrymple, 2004). The most common themes mentioned were family, friends, police, firefighters, other helpers, and freedom. Girls were generally more thankful than boys, and were more thankful for family and friends, whereas boys were more grateful for material objects. The study did not examine the link between gratitude and outcomes such as happiness, well-being, or coping, however. It remains to be seen whether counting blessings impacts on children's well-being in a manner similar to adults. Gratitude and subjective well-being Be it as a state or trait emotion, gratitude has clearly been linked to subjective-well being. Indeed, happy people tend to be grateful people (Watkins, 2004). Moreover, expressing gratitude seems to intensify our already felt positive affect in response to being the beneficiary to a benefactor's kind behavior (e.g., giving a gift). “It is as if our enjoyment is incomplete unless some praise or gratitude is expressed to the source of our enjoyment” (Watkins, p. 167). Subsequently, capitalizing on positive experiences by processing them post hoc seems to be psychologically beneficial. Indeed, the ability to notice positive occurrences in one's life and to enjoy them allows us to have more fulfilling experiences (Langston, 1994). A variety of emotional benefits resulting from a simple practice of gratitude have been demonstrated in previous research. In an experimental manipulation, college students who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events ( Emmons & McCullough, 2003, Study 1). In a daily gratitude journal-keeping exercise (Emmons & McCullough, Study 2) with college students higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy resulted compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison (ways in which participants thought they were better off than others). Participants in the daily gratitude condition were more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or having offered emotional support to another, relative to the hassles or social comparison condition. This indicates that, relative to a focus on complaints, an effective strategy for producing reliably higher levels of pleasant affect is to lead people to reflect, daily, on those aspects of their lives for which they are grateful. In a third study, Emmons and McCullough replicated these effects in adults with neuromuscular diseases. Not only did patients in the grateful condition show an advantage in positive affect and life satisfaction in self-reports, but also in the reports of significant others. These studies support the contention that gratitude has a causative influence on subjective well-being, but we do not know whether these same effects would be seen in younger populations. Gratitude, well-being, and adolescence Adolescence is a period of significant change physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually (Freud, 1958). Early adolescents often appear and behave more like children (e.g., latency), whereas late adolescents mature and begin to engage in behaviors more typical of adults. The fact is they are neither. Rather, this is a transitional period between childhood and adulthood and, as with most transition periods, negotiation is difficult ( Holmbeck & Kendall, 2002). Indeed, given the tumultuous nature of this developmental period, early adolescence is oftentimes associated with an increase in familial distancing, relational disruption, and even depression ( Silverberg and Steinberg, 1990 and Steinberg, 1987). Moreover, since adolescents experience rapid shifts in mood and extreme positive and negative affective valence ( Myers, 1992), coupled often with feelings of disconnect, they may have difficulty sustaining an even level of positive affect. Notwithstanding, if one looks at adolescence from a developmental perspective where both change and growth can occur one can view it in a more malleable and positive fashion. Specifically, in a period of change an opportunity is present for negative outcomes, stagnation, or positive psychological growth (Cicchetti & Toth, 1996, as cited in Cicchetti & Rogosch, 2002). What variables influence this change? Factors such as poor school performance, difficulty at home and other negative experiences are likely to lead to more disruptions ( Petersen, Compas, & Brooks-Gunn, 1993). However, it stands to reason that positive experiences such as family cohesion, strong parental and peer bonds, and academic success or perceptions (e.g., optimism; i.e., Seligman, 1995) would lessen mood disruptions and enhance life experiences ( Langston, 1994). Therefore, capitalizing on one's strengths and fostering positive attributes (e.g., gratitude and optimism) may buffer against such negative outcomes and the development of psychological maladies (Masten, 2001 and Seligman, 1995). To illustrate, life satisfaction mediates the relationship between parenting style and adolescent problem behavior (Suldo & Huebner, 2004a) and moderates stressful life events and externalizing disorders (Suldo & Huebner, 2004b). Furthermore, happy adolescents tend to report fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety (Gilman & Huebner, 2003) and less substance abuse (Zullig, Valois, & Huebner, 2001) and violent behaviors (e.g., physical fighting and weapon carrying; i.e., Valois, Zullig, & Huebner, 2001). Though adolescence can be described as turbulent and stressful on both the adolescents themselves and the family system as a whole (Freud, 1958), happiness and well-being may mitigate these effects and buffer future occurrences. The present study To summarize, the empirical study of gratitude in children is largely uncharted territory. Furthermore, and to the point of this study, it is unknown whether gratitude is an innate feeling that may be manifested differently as a function of developmental stage and sex of the child, whether gratitude can be cultivated on a regular basis, and if so, in what ways does it influence positive psychological functioning. Gordon et al. (2004) suggest that classroom discussions and exercise in which children are encouraged to reflect on the sources of gratitude in their own lives may be effective in supporting positive development in children. To this end, the primary purpose of the current study was to partially replicate Emmons and McCullough (2003) with an early adolescent population. Following their methodology, we randomly assigned classes of 6th and 7th graders to either a gratitude, hassles, or control condition for a period of 2 weeks and then examined the effect of the intervention on psychological, physical, and social well-being at both an immediate post-test and 3-week follow-up. Given gratitude's relationship to well-being in adult samples and that gratitude may begin to develop in early adolescence it makes logical sense that counting one's blessings within early adolescence will, indeed, be related to well-being and other positive outcomes (e.g., prosocial behavior). Subsequently, we hypothesized that the gratitude induction (i.e., counting blessings) will be related to greater subjective well-being, appreciation toward aid, prosocial behavior, and fewer physical symptoms when compared to those participants who either focus on irritants or serve as controls. Furthermore, we hoped that providing adolescents gratitude fostering techniques would be valuable in helping them achieve sustainable well-being.

نتیجه گیری انگلیسی

Results Due to the conceptually replicating nature of the current study, analyses by Emmons and McCullough (2003) were used as a guide; however, additional analyses were conducted given the use of supplementary measures and alternative hypotheses. If post or follow-up data were missing, a very conservative approach assuming no change from pre-test scores was followed and pre-test scores were entered in place of the missing post-test or follow-up data. This was done for all dependent variables. It should also be noted that pre-test scores for each dependent variable (e.g., gratitude) were used as the covariate in all one-way analyses of covariance (i.e., ANCOVA). This was deemed particularly necessary to control for any history effects potentially created by the field trip. Indeed, independent samples t-tests yielded significant differences (p < .05) between the control class (n = 22) that went on the field trip compared to the control classes (n = 43) that completed data on the pre-determined pre-test date. Specifically, the classes that completed measures on the pre-arranged date reported significantly greater positive affect and optimism about the upcoming week compared to the other controls. All other between group comparisons for the remaining two conditions at pre-test on the dependent variables was non-significant. Consequently, all data were used for analyses and discrete variables (i.e., 999) for the three classes that attended the field trip were entered into the dataset on the first day of data collection after the pre-test (i.e., day 2). Factor analyses and composite scores The three adjectives related to gratitude (i.e., grateful, thankful and appreciative) were combined to form daily composites of gratitude, as well as an 8-day aggregate (i.e., all days excluding pre, post, and follow-up), post-test, and 3-week follow-up composite. Alphas ranged from .78 to .88 for all 11 data points. Overall, these three items were highly correlated. Composite affect variables were created for the remaining 22 adjectives. Due to error in duplicating the affect scale, there were two “distressed” adjectives. Therefore, we took the mean for the two distressed items, created a daily distressed variable for each data point, and then aggregated these daily means to create a total distressed composite. This correction seemed appropriate because the two distressed variables significantly correlated (p < .01) at each day. All correlations were at or above .64. Eight day affect composite variables included days 2 through 9, which excluded pre-test, post-test and follow-up. Eight-day composites (i.e., all data points excluding pre, post, and follow-up scores) of positive and negative affect were calculated via a principal components factor analysis with an oblique rotation using the 8-day mean composites of the 22 affect adjectives (excluding grateful, thankful, and appreciative). Using eigenvalues greater than 1.0, three factors yielded eigenvalues greater than 1.0, with the eigenvalues dropping markedly from the second to third factor (i.e., 6.1 to 1.3). Therefore, we determined that two factors were present. We then re-ran the factor analysis specifying only two factors be extracted. Here, the two factors accounted for 63.89% of the variance. Additionally, a scree plot clearly indicated that two factors were present, as there was a sharp break in the line beyond the two factors. All of the items loaded where expected. Specifically, the largest loading for the first factor (i.e., positive affect) on the second factor (i.e., negative affect) was .14. Moreover, the largest loading of a negative affect item on the positive affect factor was .11. The positive and negative affect factor accounted for 36.03% and 27.85% of the variance, respectively. Even with using an oblique rotation, the positive and negative affect scores were virtually unrelated r(229) = .11, p > .05. Internal consistency was strong for the negative and positive affect variables at post and follow-up. Alphas were .91 and .92 for positive and negative affect at post, respectively, and .90 and .91 for positive and negative affect at follow-up, respectively. Overall, the affect composites seemed to have been measured reliably. Concerning grateful emotions in response to receiving aid, the four feelings of grateful, appreciative, understood, and glad were summed into a composite variable at pre, post, and follow-up. Indeed, highly reliable composites were attained with alphas of .77, .85, and .88 at pre, post, and follow-up, respectively. Overall life satisfaction composites were created by summing the five items of Huebner et al.'s (2003) multidimensional scale. Cronbach's alpha was .77, .85, and .88 for pre, post, and follow-up, respectively. A principal components factor analysis confirmed Huebner et al.'s finding of a higher order overall life satisfaction score. Indeed, the first factor accounted for 52.82%, 62.68%, and 68.24% of the variance at pre, post, and follow-up, respectively. A scree plot clearly illustrated one meaningful factor. While the two items measuring life satisfaction with the past few weeks and anticipated life satisfaction in the next week were significantly correlated (i.e., p < .001) at the pre-test, post-test, and 3-week follow-up, these items were used as separate dependent variables following the procedure of Emmons and McCullough (2003). Our main focus was to compare the results of this study using an early adolescent sample to those of Emmons and McCullough with adults. Well-being Gratitude An ANCOVA was used to determine if the three conditions (i.e., gratitude, hassles, and control) differed with respect to felt gratitude over the 8 days between pre- and post-test, at post-test, or follow-up. A significant main effect existed for the post-test and follow-up variable, F(2,213) = 3.92, MSE = 1.05, p < .05, η2 = .04 and F(2,208) = 4.48, MSE = .95, p = .01, η2 = .04, respectively. Effect sizes indicated a small to medium effect for both variables. Follow-up tests revealed that the gratitude condition reported greater gratitude compared to the hassles group using the post-test, F(1,213) = 6.63, p = .01 and follow-up variable, F(1,213) = 7.97, p < .01. A significant interaction between sex and condition was not present using the 8-day aggregate, post-test, or follow-up as the dependent variable. The means and standard deviations for the 8-day aggregate, post-test, and 3-week follow-up gratitude composite variables for all conditions appear in Table 1. Table 1. Effects of experimental condition on gratitude for 8-day aggregate, post-test, and follow-up composites Dependent variable Gratitude Hassles Control F 8-day aggregate 3.35 (1.11)a 3.20 (1.03)a 3.54 (.91)a 2.45 (2, 215) Post-test 3.32 (1.26)a 2.98 (1.25)b 3.42 (.97)ab 3.92⁎ (2, 213) Follow-up 3.56 (1.12)a 3.19 (1.25)b 3.60 (.95)ab 4.47⁎ (2, 208) Note. The values under the condition columns represent means of gratitude. Numbers in parentheses next to these means indicate standard deviations. Values adjacent to F's represent degrees of freedom. Means that do not share a letter are significantly different, p < .05. ⁎p < .05. Table options Positive and negative affect A main effect did not exist for condition when using either the 8-day, post-test, or 3-week follow-up positive affect composite as the dependent variable. However, differences existed between conditions with respect to negative affect. Specifically, using the 8-day negative affect composite as the dependent variable, condition yielded a significant main effect, F(2,215) = 6.89, MSE = .23, p < .01, η2 = .06, indicating a moderate effect. Follow-up tests indicated that the gratitude condition reported significantly less negative affect compared to the hassles condition, F(1,215) = 9.12, p < .01. Moreover, the controls appeared to experience significantly less negative affect compared to the hassles group, F(1,215) = 10.98, p < .01. Between-group differences in negative affect were also evident at both post-test and follow-up. ANCOVA's with either post, F(2,216) = 4.01, MSE = .39, p < .05, η2 = .04, or follow-up, F(2,214) = 7.14, MSE = .48, p < .01, η2 = .06, negative affect composite variables as the dependent measure yielded a significant main effect for condition. Effect sizes were considered moderate. L-matrix analyses were consistent with those for the 8-day negative affect composite variables. Specifically, at post-test the gratitude and control condition reported significantly less negative affect compared to the hassles group, F(1,216) = 5.05, p < .05, F(1,216) = 6.85, p < .01, respectively. Such effects were maintained at the 3-week follow-up with the gratitude and control group indicating significantly less negative affect compared to the hassles condition, F(1,214) = 12.03, p < .01. Table 2 illustrates the means and standard deviations by condition of negative affect for the 8-day, post-test, and follow-up composites. Table 2. Effects of experimental condition for 8-day aggregate, post-test, and follow-up negative affect composite Dependent variable Gratitude Hassles Control F 8-day aggregate 1.65 (.65)a 1.92 (.78)b 1.57 (.54)a 6.89⁎⁎ (2, 215) Post-test 1.63 (.86)a 1.91 (.80)b 1.56 (.70)a 4.01⁎ (2, 216) Follow-up 1.70 (.78)a 2.09 (.98)b 1.60 (.69)a 7.14⁎⁎ (2, 214) Note. The values under the condition columns represent means of negative affect. Numbers in parentheses next to these means indicate standard deviations. Values adjacent to F's represent degrees of freedom. Means that do not share a letter are significantly different, p < .05. ⁎p < .05. ⁎⁎p < .01. Table options Life satisfaction The mean ratings, standard deviations, and group F's at post-test for global items of satisfaction with one's life (i.e., past few weeks and upcoming week) and the constructs measured by Huebner et al's. (2003) BMSLSS (e.g., school and family) as dependent variables are shown in Table 3 only if significant main effects for condition were present. There was a significant main effect for the ratings of one's life satisfaction with the past few weeks. Participants in the control group reported significantly more satisfaction within this domain compared to the hassles group. The gratitude group rating the satisfaction with the past few weeks of their lives greater than the hassles group approached significance (i.e., p = .063). A main effect was evident for satisfaction with school experience, with the gratitude group indicating greater satisfaction with their school experience when compared to both the hassles and control group. Main effects did not exist for any other of the life satisfaction domains at post-test. Table 3. Group comparison on life satisfaction at post-test Dependent variable Gratitude Hassles Control F Past few weeks 5.80 (1.29)ab 5.47 (1.49)b 6.00 (1.05)a 3.50⁎ (2, 202) School experience 5.60 (1.25)a 5.12 (1.68)b 5.25 (1.35)b 4.00⁎ (2, 202) Note. The values under the condition columns represent means of life satisfaction. Numbers in parentheses next to these means indicate standard deviations. Values adjacent to F's represent degrees of freedom. Means that do not share a letter are significantly different, p < .05. ⁎p < .05. Table options The same analyses were conducted as in the previous paragraph, except this time the participant's ratings of life satisfaction at the 3-week follow-up were used as the dependent variable. The gratitude group rated their upcoming week more favorably compared to hassles. Similar to post-test, participants in the gratitude condition were significantly more satisfied with their school experience than those in either the hassles or control condition (see Fig. 1). Concerning satisfaction with where one lives (i.e., residency), those in both the gratitude and control group indicated greater satisfaction compared to the hassles condition (see Table 4). No other main effects for condition reached significance. Satisfaction with school experience at immediate post-test and 3-week follow-up. Fig. 1. Satisfaction with school experience at immediate post-test and 3-week follow-up. Figure options Table 4. Group comparison on life satisfaction at 3-week follow-up Dependent variable Gratitude Hassles Control F Upcoming week 6.11 (1.36)a 5.53 (1.78)b 5.90 (1.20)ab 3.17 (2, 193)⁎ School experience 5.80 (1.21)a 5.26 (1.80)b 5.31 (1.34)b 3.98 (2, 194)⁎ Residency 6.36 (.96)a 5.81 (1.60)b 6.23 (1.20)a 3.67 (2, 192)⁎ Note. The values under the condition columns represent means of life satisfaction. Numbers in parentheses next to these means indicate standard deviations. Values adjacent to F's represent degrees of freedom. Means that do not share a letter are significantly different, p < .05. ⁎p < .05. Table options Physical illness A health composite score for post-test and the 3-week follow-up were created and used as the dependent variable. The composite variable was created by taking the sum of the 12 items at each data point. There were no significant between-group differences in physical health experiences. Reactions to aid Ratings of well-being and life satisfaction were aggregated across conditions at pre-test, post-test, and the 3-week follow-up. Bivariate correlations with these composites and reported emotions of gratitude in response to aid, using the gratitude composite described earlier (i.e., summing the four feelings of grateful, appreciative, understood, and glad), at the respective data points (e.g., pre-test) were conducted. Grateful emotions in response to aid at all three data points were significantly correlated (p < .01) with positive affect, life satisfaction over the past few weeks, optimism about the upcoming week, and overall life satisfaction (see Table 5). When further analyses were conducted with these same well-being measures, but this time examining the relationship they had with negative reactions toward aid, namely feeling annoyed, embarrassed, or frustrated, significant positive correlations were not obtained. In fact, many of the correlations yielded were significantly negative. Feeling surprised in response toward aid was positively related to positive affect at both post-test (r = .27, p < .01) and the 3-week follow-up (r = .25, p < .01). Overall, data suggest that grateful emotions in response to aid are uniquely related to positive affect and several aspects of life satisfaction. Table 5. Bi-variate correlations of gratitude in response to aid and well-being at pre, post, and 3-week follow-up Dependent variable Pre-test Post-test 3-week follow-up Positive affect .52 .69 .70 Past few weeks .25 .38 .40 Upcoming week .27 .37 .47 Life overall .34 .35 .45 Note. Pre-test N = 182–220, post-test N = 190–215, 3-week follow-up N = 183–235. p < .01 for all correlations. Table options The investigation between feeling grateful toward aid and condition was furthered via ANCOVA's. A main effect for condition was not present at the post-test when using felt gratitude toward aid as the dependent measure. However, a main effect existed at the 3-week follow-up, F(2,150) = 3.96, MSE = 1.29, p < .05, η2 = .05. Follow-up tests indicated that both the gratitude (M = 3.76, SD = 1.36) and control (M = 3.88, SD = 1.01) group reported significantly more grateful emotion in response to aid compared to the hassles group (M = 3.22, SD = 1.43), F(1,150) = 6.96, p < .01, F(1,150) = 4.81, p < .01, respectively. Gratitude in response to aid as a mediator of experimental condition on general gratitude Since the gratitude intervention was related to both greater gratitude in response to aid and greater gratitude in general (i.e., gratitude assessed daily) at the 3-week follow-up compared to hassles (but not to controls) a posteriori mediational analyses were conducted and restricted to only those participants in the gratitude and hassles conditions. We believed that those adolescents in the gratitude group reported greater general gratitude compared to hassles through an enhanced sense of gratitude in response to aid. Being more aware of and, consequently, grateful for various aspects of life that can be viewed as gifts may lead to greater overall gratitude. We tested this hypothesis following the statistical specification of Baron and Kenny (1986). Three regression equations must be run to show mediation. Similar to all between group analyses conducted, general gratitude at pre-test was entered as the first step for the three subsequent regression equations. The first regression equation must show that the predictor (i.e., condition) has a significant effect on the mediator (i.e., gratitude in response to aid at the 3-week follow-up), which was indeed the case, β = 2.42, R2 change = .06, F change (1, 126) = 9.33, p < .01. Since condition was dummy coded as 0 = hassles and 1 = gratitude, this indicates that the gratitude condition was related to enhanced gratitude in response to aid. The second regression equation must show that the predictor (i.e., condition) has a significant effect on the criterion variable (i.e., general gratitude at the 3-week follow-up), which also was the case, β = .44, R2 change = .03, F change (1, 150) = 6.93, p < .01. Considering the dummy codes for condition, the gratitude condition was related to enhanced general gratitude. The third regression equation must show that the relationship between the intervention and criterion is non-significant when controlling for the mediator. Therefore, we simultaneously entered both the intervention and gratitude in response to aid at the 3-week follow-up as the predictors and general gratitude at the 3-week follow-up as the criterion variable into a regression equation. As hypothesized, intervention was no longer a significant predictor of general gratitude, with a drop from β = .44 to β = .30. Sobel's test ( Sobel, 1982) indicated that the reduction in intervention on general gratitude when controlling for gratitude in response to aid was significant (z = 2.78, p < .01). Counting blessings in adolescence may be related to domain specific gratitude (e.g., feeling thankful in response to receiving aid) via prompting a broadened view of the specific instances of kindness in daily life. Recognizing the gift of aid–yet another blessing to be counted–may subsequently lead to greater gratitude. Enhanced general gratitude could be a natural byproduct of noticing and feeling grateful for specific blessings (see Fig. 2). Beta coefficients for the pathways among experimental condition, gratitude in ... Fig. 2. Beta coefficients for the pathways among experimental condition, gratitude in response to aid, and general gratitude. ⁎⁎p < .001. Figure options We recognize that gratitude in response to aid (i.e., the mediator) and general gratitude (i.e., the criterion) were measured contemporaneously. Therefore, the statistical tests presented here might be interpreted in either direction. To illustrate, converse to our hypotheses, it could be argued that with enhanced general gratitude one may start becoming more aware of and, consequently, grateful for various aspects of life that can be viewed as gifts, thus supporting Fredrickson's (1998) Broaden and Build Theory of Positive Emotions. Specific to our data, enhanced gratitude as it relates to the intervention effects may lead one to become more grateful and, subsequently, more aware of and grateful for the received aid. We disagree with this sequence of psychological events. Instead, it seems more logical to us that a general construct (e.g., overall gratitude) may be the result of a specific construct (e.g., a number of instances of gratitude moments; i.e., gratitude in response to aid), rather than vice versa. Prosocial behavior A prosocial composite score for pre-test, post-test, 3-week follow-up, and for all data points during the 2 weeks in between pre and post (i.e., days 1 through 8) was created and used as dependent variables. The composite variable for pre, post, and follow-up was created by summing the two items assessing prosocial behavior. Moreover, the 2-week aggregate was created by obtaining the mean of these variables combined. Correlations between these two items at each time were significantly correlated (p < .01). A main effect was not present for condition at either the 2-week aggregate, post-test, or 3-week follow-up, suggesting that counting blessings may be unrelated to prosocial behavior in an early adolescent population.

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