Gratitude and Life Satisfaction in the United States and Japan
Being grateful has been associated with many positive outcomes, including greater happiness, positive affect, optimism, and self-esteem. There is limited research, however, on the associations between gratitude and different domains of life satisfaction across cultures. The current study examined the associations between gratitude and three domains of life satisfaction, including satisfaction in relationships, work, and health, and overall life satisfaction, in the United States and Japan. A total of 945 participants were drawn from two samples of middle aged and older adults, the Midlife Development in the United States and the Midlife Development in Japan. There were significant positive bivariate associations between gratitude and all four measures of life satisfaction. In addition, after adjusting for demographics, neuroticism, extraversion, and the other measures of satisfaction, gratitude was uniquely and positively associated with satisfaction with relationships and life overall but not with satisfaction with work or health. Furthermore, results indicated that women and individuals who were more extraverted and lived in the United States were more grateful and individuals with less than a high school degree were less grateful. The findings from this study suggest that gratitude is uniquely associated with specific domains of life satisfaction. Results are discussed with respect to future research and the design and implementation of gratitude interventions, particularly when including individuals from different cultures.