Does Gratitude Enhance Coping Ability?

  • Philip C. Watkins


In this chapter I investigate whether gratitude enhances well-being through promoting effective coping. New evidence suggests that positive emotion may be important in dealing with trauma. After reviewing the mechanisms by which positive emotion may benefit coping, I then turn to how gratitude may specifically provide benefits for coping. I first review literature showing that people often experience gratitude in the wake of trauma. Thus, if gratitude is an effective coping tool, it should be available to individuals in stressful situations. Research from a wide array of studies shows that effective coping is one of the most salient features of grateful people. I explore the “how” of grateful coping, and show that one reason that grateful people cope so effectively is because they positively reappraise negative events. I conclude by describing an experimental study showing how grateful processing of bad events helps bring closure, and decreases the negative affect and the intrusiveness associated with troubling memories.


Positive Emotion Ptsd Symptom Emotional Intelligence Adaptive Coping Effective Coping 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip C. Watkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyEastern Washington UniversityCheneyUSA

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