Date of Award

Summer 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Alice P. Carter


The relationship between the character strengths of gratitude, kindness and factors of subjective well-being was explored, and the influence of personality factors on this relationship was examined. In this research, participants were assigned to an experimental or control group and completed the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SLS), Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS), Positive Affectivity and Negative Affectivity Scale (PANAS), International Personality Item Pool Values in Action Gratitude and Kindness Scales (VIA-Gratitude, and VIA Kindness), Mini-International Personality Item Pool (IPIP), and Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale, Form C. For two weeks, participants in the gratitude group kept a daily gratitude list, and those in the control group kept a daily list of interesting things that happened to them. The SLS, SHS, PANAS, VIA-Gratitude, and VIA-Kindness were readministered at the end of the 2-week intervention period and at the end of a 3-week follow-up period to determine short-term and long-term changes in life satisfaction, subjective happiness, positive affect, negative affect, gratitude, and kindness for all participants. Significant differences in agreeableness and conscientiousness between final groups resulted in these factors being used as covariates. Results indicated that a gratitude intervention did not cause significant changes in elements of subjective well-being, independent of beginning levels of gratitude. However, individuals who reported higher beginning levels of gratitude had significantly greater gains in life satisfaction, positive affect, and kindness following a gratitude intervention than those who reported lower beginning gratitude levels. Results indicated that a gratitude intervention did not significantly increase measures of happiness for those with higher levels of beginning kindness. Thus, a significant positive correlation was found between character strengths of gratitude and kindness, and factors of positive affect, subjective well-being, and life satisfaction. A significant positive correlation was found between gratitude, kindness, and the personality trait of agreeableness. Additionally, there was a significant positive correlation between kindness, conscientiousness, and social desirability.