Grateful people are happier because they have fond memories of their past


Past studies demonstrated that grateful people report higher well-being. Research has rarely examined the mechanisms that explains this relation. In three studies (N = 787), we proposed that time perspectives may be one reasons why grateful people report higher well-being. Studies 1 and 2 used a cross-sectional design with adults and students that demonstrated a unique association between trait gratitude and well-being, which is largely explained by the past positive time perspective. Study 3 used a brief longitudinal design in a more ethnically diverse student sample and found that trait gratitude predicted life satisfaction one-month later, in part, because the grateful people reported more past positive time perspective. In short, these findings were consistent across diverse samples and remained even after controlling for the Big Five personality traits. The discussion focuses on the implications that these results have for the gratitude and time perspective literature.

Publication Title

Personality and Individual Differences