One definition of gratitude is a state of mind where one feels and expresses thankfulness consistently over time and across situations (1).
In a previous post, we reviewed the role of specific gratitude exercise on happiness, stress, and depression (2, 3).
A recent study looked at the relationship of a person’s gratitude levels on depression, suicidal-ideation, and self-esteem among college students.
What did the study involve?
• 814 college students, with a mean age of 20.13 years (4).
• Participants completed questionnaires measuring gratitude, depression, suicidal ideation, and self esteem (4).
• The relationship between these four factors was analyzed (4).
What did the results show? (4)
• Participants with higher levels of gratefulness tended to have a higher level of self-esteem (4).
• Higher self-esteem decreased suicidal-ideation (4).
• Participants with higher levels of gratefulness tended to be less depressed, which also reduced suicidal-ideation (4).
What are some caveats?
• This was a small study looking at correlations, which does not necessarily tell us about cause and effect (causation).
• Specific factors that increased the gratitude of participants was not examined.
• Individual responses may vary.
Where can I learn more about gratitude?
Here is a link on a specific gratitude exercise: https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2015/12/
Harvard’s link on gratitude exercise (click then scroll down the page): http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/in-praise-of-gratitude
What are some resources to improve depression?
• Counseling at the OSU Student Life Counseling and Consultation Service
• Holiday stress article from the Mayo Clinic
• Mindfulness and Body scan techniques at the OSU Wexner Medical Center
• Depression information at the National Institute of Mental Health
• Anonymous mental health screen
• Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Could gratitude practices help you feel better?
Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.
- Emmons, R. A. & Crumpler, C. A. (2000). Gratitude as a human strength:
Appraising the evidence. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 19, 56–69.
- Oleary K, Dockray S. The Effects of Two Novel Gratitude and Mindfulness Interventions on Well-Being. THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE. Volume 21, Number 4, 2015, pp. 243–245.
- Lin CC. The relationships among gratitude, self-esteem, depression, and suicidal
ideation among undergraduate students. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 2015, 56, 700–707. DOI: 10.1111/sjop.12252