Using a Gratitude Intervention to Enhance Well-Being in Older Adults

Abstract

The increasingly ageing population includes a proportion of well older adults that may benefit from low-level psychological support to help maintain their wellbeing. A factor consistently regarded as integral to wellbeing is gratitude. The effect of a ‘Three good things in life’ gratitude intervention on hedonic and eudemonic wellbeing and perceived stress levels in non-clinically depressed older adults was examined. This intervention has not been evaluated with older adults previously. The duration of the intervention was 2 weeks and baseline, end of intervention and 30-day follow up measures were compared. The effects of online and paper delivery of the intervention were compared and differences in acceptability of the two routes examined. The daily positive events identified by participants were also analysed. Participants were 88 healthy community living adults aged 60 years or over. The intervention produced significant differences in eudemonic wellbeing as measured by flourishing from baseline to day 15 that was maintained at day 45. Significant increases in flourishing were evident from baseline to day 45. There were decreases in perceived stress from day 1 to day 15 but these were not maintained once the intervention ended. There were no significant differences between online and paper delivery of the intervention. This age group managed and many preferred online delivery, Gratitude diaries seem to be a cost-effective method of producing beneficial improvements in wellbeing for older adults.

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Correspondence to Alison Killen.

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Killen, A., Macaskill, A. Using a Gratitude Intervention to Enhance Well-Being in Older Adults. J Happiness Stud 16, 947–964 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-014-9542-3

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Keywords

  • Older adults
  • Gratitude
  • Online delivery
  • Wellbeing
  • Three good things intervention