Gratitude, Psychopathology and Subjective Well-Being: Results from a 7.5-Month Prospective General Population Study

Lilian Jans-Beken*, Johan Lataster, Denise Peels, Lilian Lechner, Nele Jacobs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Gratitude is considered an important source of human strength in achieving and maintaining good mental health. Although complete mental health encompasses the absence of psychopathology and the presence of subjective well-being, no studies to date have examined relations between gratitude and both mental health dimensions together. Moreover, most studies focused on specific samples with a restricted demographic range. Our study, therefore, examined (a) demographic variability in the grateful trait, and (b) prospective associations between gratitude and both dimensions of mental health: psychopathology and subjective well-being. Using a four wave prospective survey design in a large (N = 706) sample of Dutch adults (M age = 44, SD age = 14, Range = 18-80), we measured gratitude with the SGRAT, symptoms of psychopathology with the SCL-90, and subjective well-being with the PANAS and SWLS. Gratitude was significantly associated with age, gender, education level, and employment status. Multilevel time-lagged regression analyses showed that the grateful trait did not predict symptoms of psychopathology, but was a significant albeit weak predictor of subjective well-being, when adjusting for the effects of demographic factors, and prior levels of subjective well-being and psychopathology. Our findings indicate that the grateful trait is associated with demographic factors, and shows complex connections with the presence of well-being and absence of psychopathology. These dynamics should be taken into consideration when studying the role of gratitude in mental health, and developing, applying, and evaluating gratitude interventions with the aim of enhancing subjective well-being and/or reducing psychopathology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1673-1689
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Volume19
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018

Keywords

  • Grateful disposition
  • Psychological distress
  • Mental health
  • Life satisfaction
  • Dual continua model
  • MENTAL-HEALTH
  • POSTTRAUMATIC GROWTH
  • POSITIVE EMOTIONS
  • LIFE SCALE
  • METAANALYSIS
  • DEPRESSION
  • MODEL
  • INTERVENTIONS
  • APPRECIATION
  • UNEMPLOYMENT

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