Promoting Gratitude as a Resource for Sustainable Mental Health: Results of a 3-Armed Randomized Controlled Trial up to 6 Months Follow-up

Ernst T. Bohlmeijer*, Jannis T. Kraiss, Philip Watkins, Marijke Schotanus-Dijkstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

The aim of the current study was to evaluate the impact of a 6-week gratitude intervention for people with low to moderate well-being and moderate symptomatology of depression and anxiety up to 6 months follow-up. 217 Dutch adults were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: a 6-week gratitude intervention, a 6-week self-kindness intervention as an active control condition and a waitlist control condition. Participants completed online assessments on well-being, depression, anxiety and gratitude at baseline, post-test, 6 weeks and 6 months follow-up. Changes in outcome measures over time were examined using multilevel growth curve modeling in R to account for repeated measures nested within individuals. The gratitude intervention was more effective in improving mental well-being in comparison to the self-kindness intervention (d =.63 at post-intervention and d =.40 at 6 weeks follow-up) and waitlist control (d =.93 at post-intervention and d =.66 at 6 weeks follow-up). The data also demonstrated that the gratitude intervention was superior to waitlist control and practicing self-kindness on various measures of gratitude but not on distress. The results of this study suggest that a 6-week gratitude intervention is an effective, low-intensity intervention for enhancing mental well-being but not distress among people with low to moderate levels of well-being and moderate distress, at least in higher-educated women. The sustained effects on various measures of gratitude up to 6 months follow-up suggest that it is possible to promote a lasting appreciative perspective on life.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of happiness studies
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2020

Keywords

  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Low-intensity intervention
  • Positive psychology
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Well-being
  • Gratitude

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