Gratitude and Subjective Wellbeing: A Proposal of Two Causal Frameworks

Anna Alkozei, Ryan Smith, William D.S. Killgore

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Gratitude, the experience of appreciating the positive aspects in life, has been associated with increased subjective wellbeing (SWB). This paper proposes two causal frameworks (i.e., a cognitive and a psycho-social framework) that highlight the possible mechanisms by which gratitude influences SWB. This paper provides support for these two frameworks by reviewing research conducted to date on the relationship between the experience of gratitude and SWB, in terms of reduced symptoms of psychopathology, better interpersonal relationships, and improved physical health. In addition, the promising potential of gratitude interventions to improve SWB in healthy individuals and those with symptoms of psychopathology are reviewed. While gratitude interventions represent a relatively new approach, the limited evidence suggests that they may eventually provide an effective form of intervention that can be used to complement current therapy aprroaches for improving SWB. Therefore its potential application in clinical populations and the underlying mechanisms that might be driving the positive effects of gratitude interventions in improving SWB deserve further research attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1519-1542
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Gratitude
  • Happiness
  • Health
  • Subjective wellbeing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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