Letters of Gratitude: Further Evidence for Author Benefits

Abstract

This study examined the effects of writing letters of gratitude on three primary qualities of well-being; happiness (positive affect), life-satisfaction (cognitive evaluation), and depression (negative affect). Gratitude was also assessed. Participants included 219 men and women who wrote three letters of gratitude over a 3 week period. A two-way mixed method ANOVA with a between factor (writers vs. non-writers) and within subject factor (time of testing) analysis was conducted. Results indicated that writing letters of gratitude increased participants’ happiness and life satisfaction, while decreasing depressive symptoms. The implications of this approach for intervention are discussed.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    We explored whether the effects of letter writing varied by initial levels of gratitude by conducting a series of regression analyses for each of the dependent variables that included the interaction between pretest gratitude and group (i.e., experimental vs. control). Our results did not provide support for gratitude as a moderator of the treatment effect.

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Toepfer, S.M., Cichy, K. & Peters, P. Letters of Gratitude: Further Evidence for Author Benefits. J Happiness Stud 13, 187–201 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-011-9257-7

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Keywords

  • Well-being
  • Happiness
  • Life satisfaction
  • Gratitude
  • Writing
  • Letters
  • Intentional activity