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Gratitude Affects Self-

Esteem: When Being

Thankful Counts
Gratitude is a positive emotion people feel
whenever they think of things they perceive as
worthy of appreciation. Therefore, it could be
the recognition of ones success or positive
experience as caused by other people
(Emmons & Mishra, 2011) or could be
associated towards the situation itself
(Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
William James defined self-esteem as the
satisfaction or dissatisfaction with oneself.
Hence, self-esteem is how we measure our
worth as humans, how good and valuable we
are (Neff, 2011).
There are studies conducted to link gratitude
with self-esteem, however, there is a dearth of
studies focusing on regular students. The
primary purpose of the study is to examine
whether a grateful outlook leads to enhanced
Many studies correlated gratitude with other
different variable such as prosocial behaviors
(Bartlett and DeSteno, 2006), well-being
(Emmons and McCullough, 2003), health (Wood,
Joseph, Lloyd, & Atkins, 2009), materialism
(Polak & McCullough, 2006), and to self-esteem
as well.
Also, according to Fredricksons broaden-and-build
model of positive emotions, positive emotions broaden
peoples cognition and behavior tendencies, and build
their lasting personal resources that can be useful in the
future. Therefore, gratitude could perhaps increase their
levels of self-esteem.
Broaden-and-built theory (Fredrickson, 1998, 2001)
suggests that each positive emotion has a unique
evolutionary purpose, and a discrete function.
Positive emotions broaden thought to encourage
cognitive and behavioral activities that will build
resources that can be utilized during the next stressful
period such as creativity, curiosity (Kashdan &
Rottenberg, 2006), planning, or various enjoyable
activities that build resources, physical playing which
increases stamina as an example.
We wanted to prove whether relative to
focusing on neutral events in life, a focus
on counting one's blessings could lead to
enhanced confidence on one's own worth
or abilities which is the self-esteem. We
predict that recognizing blessing or the
things a person is grateful for will lead to
heightened self-esteem over time relative
to a focus on neutral events.

48 undergraduate OBTEC students

13 men and 35 women

6% freshmen, 75% sophomores, and 19%

Rosenbergs Self Esteem Scale (10-item likert
Table 1. Pre-Test and Post Test of Control Group

Note. * = p > .05

In control group, the pre-test and post test showed no significant change in their self-esteem

between the pre-test and post test, p value is 0.45, p > 0.05.
In the experimental group, the pre-test and post test yielded a

value of 0.001, p < 0.05. Therefore, there is a change in self-esteem

within the experimental group.

It appeared that being grateful is a factor that

enhances an individuals self-esteem (0.045, p < 0.05).

Those people in the gratitude condition have higher

self-esteem compared to those in the neutral condition,

after being exposed to the treatment. The results also

showed that people in the control group acquired no

significant change in their self-esteem compared to

those in the experimental group.

Gratitude is the positive emotion that was
broadened within the students of Philippine
Normal University that helped them build
another positive personal resource which is
This study relied on self-reported data, which common method

variance is possible (Lindell & Whitney, 2001).

The study is not vulnerable from social desirability bias.

The participants willingness to put effort in answering every three

days might differ from each participant.

The length of the study is also important to take into consideration.

The time range a person should write needs to be held on more

studies as well.
Future Researchers
In what way does gender affect the way on how

people express gratitude?

What are the other forms of intervention should be

utilized to increase an individuals self-esteem?

The following questions can only be found by the

growing research about gratitude.