Gratitude is omnipresent in society. People express gratitude in the form of gifts, favors, support and assistance. Empirical literature on the emotion has shown gratitude to promote feelings of contentment (Walker & Pitts, 1998) hope, happiness, and pride (Overwalle, Mervielde, & De Schuyter, 1995). However, what about relationship satisfaction? Specifically, can expressing gratitude verbally enhance perceived relationship satisfaction in close relationships?
Gratitude has been referred to as “the moral memory of mankind,” and if suddenly eliminated, “society would break apart” (Simmel, 1950, p. 388).
Vast literature on gratitude has defined and explored its contours, and extensive research documents main effects. Majority of initial research focused on advantages of gratitude expression, that include emotional and interpersonal benefits. One particular study investigated the effects of a “grateful outlook” on life. Specifically, counting one’s “blessings” rather than “burdens” was reported to enhance well-being (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
A growing interest in the involvement of partners shifted the focus of research on real, ongoing relationships. Specifically, research aimed to identify the role appreciation played in relationships, and locate the link connecting gratitude with relationship maintenance.
In a recent study, Algoe et al. (2008) examined naturally occurring gratitude in college sororities, during a week of gift-giving. The study suggests gratitude to not only promote relationship formation, but also predict future relationship outcomes.
The act of gratitude involves both a donor (giver of appreciation) and recipient (beneficiary of appreciation). With a newly documented association between gratitude . .
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