Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 883–898 | Cite as

Within-Person Relationships Among Daily Gratitude, Well-Being, Stress, and Positive Experiences

  • John B. NezlekEmail author
  • Izabela Krejtz
  • Marzena Rusanowska
  • Paweł Holas
Research Paper


Each day for 2 weeks, participants (N = 131, psychologically healthy adults residing in the community) described their daily well-being, how grateful they felt that day, and the events they experienced. Multilevel modeling analyses found that daily feelings of gratitude were positively related to well-being at the within-person level. The analyses also found that well-being varied as a joint function of daily gratitude and how stressful events were. Gratitude moderated relationships between stress and self-esteem, worry, depressogenic adjustment, and negative deactive affect (e.g., sad). The negative relationships between the stress of daily events and self-esteem and depressogenic adjustment were weaker on days when people felt more grateful than on days when they felt less grateful as were the positive relationships between stress and worry and negative deactive affect. The analyses also found that relationships between gratitude and worry, depressogenic adjustment, and negative deactive affect were stronger on days when daily events were less positive than on days when daily events were more positive. The possibility that feelings of gratitude can provide a context within which daily experience is evaluated is discussed.


Gratitude Daily well-being Buffering effect Stress Diary study Multilevel modeling 



Support for this research was provided by the Foundation for Polish Science, Bridge Grant Program: BIS/2011-3/2 to Iza Krejtz and by a grant to John B. Nezlek from the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, Council for International Exchange of Scholars.


  1. Affleck, G., Tennen, H., Urrows, S., & Higgins, P. (1994). Person and contextual features of daily stress reactivity: Individual differences in relations of undesirable daily events with mood disturbance and chronic pain intensity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 329–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Affleck, G., Zautra, A., Tennen, H., & Armeli, S. (1999). Multilevel daily process designs for consulting and clinical psychology: A preface for the perplexed. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67(5), 746–754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  4. Almeida, D. M. (2005). Resilience and vulnerability to daily stressors assessed via diary methods. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14, 62–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beck, A. T. (1972). Depression: Causes and treatment. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  6. Carmines, E. G., & Zeller, R. A. (1979). Reliability and validity assessment. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cervone, D. (2005). Personality architecture: Within-person structures and processes. Annual Review of Psychology, 56, 423–452. Scholar
  8. Cohen, S., & Wills, T. A. (1985). Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98(2), 310–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377–389. Scholar
  10. Enders, C. K., & Tofighi, D. (2007). Centering predictor variables in cross-sectional multilevel models: A new look at an old issue. Psychological Methods, 12(2), 121–138. Scholar
  11. Feldman Barrett, L., & Russell, J. A. (1998). Independence and bipolarity in the structure of current affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(4), 967–984.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fredrickson, B. L. (2013). Positive emotions broaden and build. In E. Ashby Plant & P. G. Devine (Eds.), Advances on experimental social psychology (Vol. 47, pp. 1–53). Burlington: Academic Press. Scholar
  13. Froh, J. J., Sefick, W. J., & Emmons, R. A. (2008). Counting blessings in early adolescents: An experimental study of gratitude and subjective well-being. Journal of School Psychology, 46(2), 213–233. Scholar
  14. Kashdan, T. B., Uswatte, G., & Julian, T. (2006). Gratitude and hedonic and eudaimonic wellbeing in Vietnam war veterans. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 177–199. Scholar
  15. Kerr, S. L., O’Donovan, A., & Pepping, C. A. (2015). Can gratitude and kindness interventions enhance well-being in a clinical sample? Journal of Happiness Studies, 16, 17–36. Scholar
  16. Krejtz, I., Nezlek, J. B., Michnicka, A., Holas, P., & Rusanowska, M. (2016). Counting one’s blessings can reduce the impact of daily stress. Journal of Happiness Studies, 17, 25–39. Scholar
  17. McCullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., & Tsang, J. A. (2002). The grateful disposition: A conceptual and empirical topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82(1), 112–127. Scholar
  18. Meyer, T. J., Miller, M. L., Metzger, R. L., & Borkovec, T. D. (1990). Development and validation of the penn state worry questionnaire. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 28(6), 487–495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nezlek, J. B. (2001). Multilevel random coefficient analyses of event and interval contingent data in social and personality psychology research. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27(7), 771–785. Scholar
  20. Nezlek, J. B. (2005). Distinguishing affective and non-affective reactions to daily events. Journal of Personality, 73(6), 1539–1568. Scholar
  21. Nezlek, J. B. (2011). Multilevel modeling for social and personality psychology. In J. B. Nezlek (Ed.), The SAGE library in social and personality psychology methods. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  22. Nezlek, J. B. (2012). Diary methods for social and personality psychology. In J. B. Nezlek (Ed.), The SAGE library in social and personality psychology methods. London: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nezlek, J. B. (2017a). JOHS—Gratitude study, 2017.
  24. Nezlek, J. B. (2017b). A practical guide to understanding reliability in studies of within-person variability. Journal of Research in Personality, 69, 149–155. Scholar
  25. Nezlek, J. B., Newman, D. B., & Thrash, T. M. (2017). A daily diary study of relationships between feelings of gratitude and well-being. Journal of Positive Psychology, 12(4), 323–332. Scholar
  26. Nezlek, J. B., & Plesko, R. M. (2003). Affect- and self-based models of relationships between daily events and daily well-being. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29(5), 584–596. Scholar
  27. Rash, J. A., Matsuba, M. K., & Prkachin, K. M. (2011). Gratitude and well-being: Who benefits the most from a gratitude intervention? Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 3(3), 350–369. Scholar
  28. Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  29. Raudenbush, S. W., Bryk, A. S., & Congdon, R. (2011). HLM 7 for Windows [computer software]. Skokie, IL: Scientific Software International Inc.Google Scholar
  30. Roberts, R. C. (2004). The blessings of gratitude: A conceptual analysis. In R. A. Emmons & M. E. McCullough (Eds.), The psychology of gratitude (pp. 58–78). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sheehan, D., Lecrubier, Y., Sheehan, K. H., Amorim, P., Janavs, J., Weiller, E., et al. (1998). The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI): The development and validation of a structured diagnostic psychiatric interview for DSM-IV and ICD-10. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 59, 34–57.Google Scholar
  33. Wood, A. M., Froh, J. J., & Geraghty, A. W. A. (2010). Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 890–905. Scholar
  34. Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Gillett, R., Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S. (2008). The role of gratitude in the development of social support, stress, and depression: Two longitudinal studies. Journal of Research in Personality, 42, 854–871. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SWPS University of Social Sciences and HumanitiesPoznańPoland
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyCollege of William and MaryWilliamsburgUSA
  3. 3.SWPS University of Social Sciences and HumanitiesWarsawPoland
  4. 4.Polish Academy of SciencesWarsawPoland
  5. 5.University of WarsawWarsawPoland

Personalised recommendations