Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 101–117 | Cite as

Ruminating on the Positive: Paths from Trait Positive Emotionality to Event-Specific Gratitude

  • Kaitlin A. HardingEmail author
  • Karly M. Murphy
  • Amy Mezulis
Research Paper


Positive emotions and gratitude are essential contributors to happiness and well-being, but how trait tendencies toward positive emotionality and gratitude differ in predicting event-specific gratitude are poorly understood. Furthermore, no research has examined whether people who exhibit greater trait tendencies toward positive emotions or gratitude experience greater event-specific gratitude in response to positive events, or whether cognitively amplifying positive emotions in response to positive events mediates these relationships to enhance event-specific gratitude experiences. Our 8-week, prospective study of 145 adults examined whether greater trait positive emotionality and greater trait gratitude would distinctly predict greater event-specific gratitude as mediated by two types of positive rumination (self-focused and emotion-focused) in response to positive events. Hierarchical linear modeling indicated that when considered jointly, greater trait positive emotionality predicted greater event-specific gratitude, and greater emotion-focused positive rumination mediated the effects of trait positive emotionality on event-specific gratitude. Findings supported that individuals with greater trait positive emotionality were more likely to positively ruminate about positive emotional experiences and this partially explained their increase in event-specific gratitude. Findings also suggested that trait positive emotionality and trait gratitude are distinct but related constructs that differentially relate to event-specific gratitude. In the pursuit of happiness and well-being, literature on gratitude interventions may benefit from incorporating emotion-focused positive rumination strategies to promote gratitude in response to positive events.


Gratitude Positive emotion Positive rumination Rumination 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaitlin A. Harding
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karly M. Murphy
    • 2
  • Amy Mezulis
    • 2
  1. 1.VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle DivisionSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Seattle Pacific UniversitySeattleUSA

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