Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Kimberly J. Hills


ABSTRACTThe construct of gratitude has gained interest over the last decade along with the rise of positive psychology. Gratitude’s significant relations with psychological and psychosocial factors have been shown in prior research, although support for such relations in children and adolescents exists, to date the literature is more robust around adults. Additionally, presumed antecedents of individual differences in gratitude have been acknowledged. The present study included a sample of 1872 middle school students and aimed to build on previous work to explore the influence of emotion regulation (i.e., cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression) in the development of gratitude among youth and adolescents, as well as how emotion regulation may influence the relationship between gratitude and stressful life events. Results of a hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that after controlling for demographic factors (i.e., SES, gender, race, and age) the reported occurrence of uncontrollable stressful life events and use of emotion regulation strategies (i.e., cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression) added statistically significant variance to the expression of gratitude differences. Implications of these results are discussed. Future research should focus on continuing to inform the origins of gratitude as the literature around the construct continues to grow