Date of Award

6-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

In recent years, the positive psychology movement has grown and researchers have become interested in studying overall well-being and the predictors of happiness. Previous studies have indicated that biology plays a role in determining an individual’s happiness, but this is not the only contributing factor. Thought patterns and behaviors play a key role in one’s overall wellbeing. The current study evaluated the relationship that a practice of gratitude and performing acts of kindness had on participants’ scores on happiness, gratitude and social support scales. It was predicted that individuals who performed acts of kindness and practice gratitude for one week would score significantly higher than those in the control group as well as individuals who only performed acts of kindness or practice gratitude on the aforementioned measures. Results indicated that a combination of practicing gratitude and kindness significantly increased participants’ scores on self-esteem and gratitude measures and significantly decreased their scores on measures of perceived stress. Previous research has demonstrated that when individuals experience higher amounts of gratitude and self-esteem and lower amounts of stress, they are more likely to also experience increases in happiness. Therefore, practicing gratitude and kindness may help to increase happiness.

Granting Institution

University of Texas Brownsville

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