Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 1394–1401 | Cite as

Gratitude as a Variable of Mediation between Parental Support and Self-Esteem in Adolescence

  • Sara Alfieri
  • Semira Tagliabue
  • Elena Marta
  • Giovanni Aresi
  • Margherita Lanz
  • Maura Pozzi
Original Paper


Despite there has been a growing interest in the study of gratitude, few studies have investigated which factors support and promote it; notably, no study has yet addressed ways in which parents could promote gratitude in their children. The present study aims to investigate the relation between parental emotional support and self-esteem through the mediation of gratitude. The analyses have been conducted considering both the maternal and the paternal roles. To that end, an explorative model has been proposed of these relations. A self-report questionnaire was administered to 279 15–19 year-old adolescents (M = 16.83, SD = .85) living in Northern Italy. Findings show that (a) the mother’s emotional support, but not the father’s, sustains gratitude, and (b) gratitude completely mediates the relation between maternal emotional support and self-esteem. Limitations and research implications are discussed.


Gratitude Adolescence Emotional support Family relations Self-esteem Parental role 


Author Contributions

S.A. designed and executed the study, assisted with the data analyses and wrote the paper; S.T. collected the data, analyzed the data and wrote the results; E.M. designed the study and wrote part of the discussion; G.A. collaborated in the writing and editing of the final manuscript; M.L. assisted with the data analyses and wrote part of the results; M.P. collected the data, collaborated in the editing of the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This research involves Human Participants. Authors declare that the study abided both the ethics required by the Research Ethic Committee of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milano (Italy) and by the Italian Psychology Association (AIP).

Informed Consent

Participants were informed about: privacy, use of the data, and that participation was voluntary and unrewarded. Underage students’ parents (at least one of them) provided written consent before the administration of the questionnaire.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Alfieri
    • 1
  • Semira Tagliabue
    • 2
  • Elena Marta
    • 1
  • Giovanni Aresi
    • 1
  • Margherita Lanz
    • 1
  • Maura Pozzi
    • 1
  1. 1.Università Cattolica del Sacro CuoreMilanItaly
  2. 2.Università Cattolica del Sacro CuoreBresciaItaly

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