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Positive Interventions: A Comparison Of Increased Happiness Resulting From Completing Actions Involving Kindness And Gratitude

1119 words - 5 pages

Along with life and liberty, the pursuit of happiness is among the most fundamental ideals in American society. The men who founded the United States of America in the late 18th century listed these three values as “unalienable rights” for the citizens of the new nation they were forming. In a recent study looking at the pursuit of happiness, Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, and Schkade state, “If it is meaningful and important to pursue happiness, then it is crucial to find out how this can be accomplished” (2005, p. 126). In later work, Sheldon and Lyubomirsky (2006) observe that little research has been done to uncover the exact methods in which happiness increases. The views offered by the ...view middle of the document...

Furthermore, evidence exists that individual differences have an effect on the outcomes obtained from positive interventions. Froh, Yurkewicz, and Kashdan (2009) find that adolescent males obtained more social benefit from gratitude than adolescent females. The current study will explore this relationship in older participants. The current research will extend the question to see if differences exist due to gender in the outcomes obtained in acts of kindness, as well.
Certain aspects of religion and psychology are traditionally and inherently linked (Watts, Dutton, and Gulliford, 2006). The current investigation agrees that concepts such as gratitude and kindness are two of these overlapping ideas. Evidence exists that religious commitment and gratitude are connected to positive effects in depressive symptoms (Krause, 2009). The current investigation hopes to replicate the findings of the previous work and uncover a similar relationship for acts of kindness.
In an effort to achieve the aforementioned goals, the current experiment has been designed to compare the gains in happiness and well-being resulting from the completion of kind acts for others and the recording of gratitude, both on a daily basis. Differences in gender and the importance of religion and spirituality will be explored to see if these factors impact the effects in happiness that the research obtains. For this study, participants will be randomly assigned to one of two groups; one group will perform one kind act for another person each day for one week, and the second group will record five things for which they are grateful each day for one week. Pre-test and post-test measures will be utilized to attain a measure of each participant’s gratitude, life orientation, affect, self-esteem, and resilience. This study makes three predictions. First, it is hypothesized that the group completing kind acts for others will show more gains in happiness and well-being than the group keeping a record of gratitude. These findings would support previous research noting that individuals with greater commitment to an intervention obtain more benefit from the activity (Lyubomirsky, Dickerhoof, Boehm, and Sheldon, 2011), assuming that a physical activity is indicative of a greater level of commitment than a passive activity. It is further hypothesized that individual differences will have an effect on the increase of happiness and well-being observed. Therefore, it is expected that males will show greater increases in well-being and happiness from completing the interventions as compared to females. This...

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