Dr. Blaire Morgan, Research Fellow at the Centre, presented a paper titled: ‘Understanding and Measuring How Gratitude is Experienced in the UK’ at the International Positive Psychology Association’s Fourth World Congress on Positive Psychology in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on 25 – 28 June 2015. The congress featured more than 100 presentations from a global community of scholars, practitioners, and students within the field of positive psychology including plenary presentations by Martin Seligman, Barbara Fredrickson and Tal Ben-Shahar.
An abstract of Dr. Morgan’s paper is provided below:
Gratitude is a complex, multi-faceted construct and is experienced in diverse ways. For example, in contrast to the prevailing view of gratitude as positive, we present findings showing it is not always experienced positively, especially in adult populations. Furthermore, our research, using specially designed and innovative methods, demonstrates that some aspects of gratitude appear to exhibit generational differences. Whilst adults appear to afford gratitude a higher level of importance than adolescents, they are also more ambivalent in their assessments of whether cost/risk during benefaction is deemed virtuous or foolhardy.
To probe the complex concept of gratitude further we developed the Multi-Component Gratitude Measure (MCGM), the first tool to incorporate emotional, attitudinal and behavioural components, and profile individuals’ conceptual understanding of gratitude. The MCGM offers a more nuanced understanding of gratitude’s distinctive dimensions than existing measures. The MCGM enabled us to show that Christians in the UK report significantly higher ratings of grateful feeling than atheists but that there was no significant difference between these groups regarding attitudes and behaviours relating to gratitude. This psychometrically robust measure thus captures subtle differences outside the scope of existing measures.