© 2014

Gratitude and the Good Life

Toward a Psychology of Appreciation


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Philip C. Watkins
    Pages 1-9
  3. The “What” of Gratitude

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 11-11
    2. Philip C. Watkins
      Pages 13-40
    3. Philip C. Watkins
      Pages 41-54
    4. Philip C. Watkins
      Pages 55-71
  4. The “How” of Gratitude

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 101-102
    2. Philip C. Watkins
      Pages 103-115
    3. Philip C. Watkins
      Pages 117-138
    4. Philip C. Watkins
      Pages 139-157
    5. Philip C. Watkins
      Pages 159-174
    6. Philip C. Watkins
      Pages 175-193
    7. Philip C. Watkins
      Pages 195-212
    8. Philip C. Watkins
      Pages 213-223
    9. Philip C. Watkins
      Pages 241-253
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 255-259

About this book


This book provides clear and sometimes surprising answers to why gratitude is important to living well. The science of gratitude has shown much growth in the last ten years, and there is now sufficient evidence to suggest that gratitude is one of the most important components of the good life. Both correlational and experimental studies have provided support for the theory that gratitude enhances well-being. 

After providing a lucid understanding of gratitude, this volume explores the many aspects of well-being that are associated with gratitude. Moreover, experimental work has now provided promising evidence to suggest that gratitude actually causes enhancements in happiness.  If gratitude promotes human flourishing, how does it do so?  This issue is addressed in the second section of the book by exploring the mechanisms that might explain the gratitude/well-being relationship. This book provides an up to date account of gratitude research and suggested interesting paths for future research, all while providing a theory of gratitude that helps make this information more understandable. 

This book is very valuable to gratitude investigators, as well as all who are interested in pursuing this line of research, students and scholars of emotion and well-being and instructors of positive psychology courses and seminars.


Beauty of Gratitude Death, Deprivations and Gratitude Development of Gratitude Emotional Health Gender and Gratitude Grateful Reframing Gratitude and Appreciation Gratitude and Enhancing Positive Memories Gratitude and Enhancing Relationships Gratitude and Happiness Gratitude and Physical Well-Being Gratitude and Positive Psychology Gratitude and Well-Being Measuring Gratitude Memory and Happiness Positive Emotion in the Coping Process Positive Psychology Recognitions of Gratitude Science of Gratitude Social Emotion and Gratitude The Social-Cognitive Model of Gratitude Understanding the Character of Grateful People Well-Being and Relationships

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyEastern Washington UniversityCheneyUSA

About the authors

Philip C. Watkins has been conducting research on gratitude since 1995 and have been cited as one of the pioneers in the science of gratitude. Since 2000 he has published 11 papers on gratitude, and have presented more than 50 gratitude research papers at national, international, and regional conferences. His research has been focused on understanding the factors that cause gratitude, and how gratitude enhances subjective well-being. His work has been covered in a number of national media outlets, including Ladies Home Journal, The Washington Post, Self, Redbook, and Psychology Today. Before turning his research energies to gratitude he focused on memory processes in depression, where he still maintains some interest. This research program resulted in three articles that were published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Philip Watkins completed his undergraduate education at the University of Oregon, and went on to receive his M.A. and Ph.D. at Louisiana State University in clinical psychology. He completed his clinical internship at the University of Southern California Medical School. After joining the Psychology Department of Eastern Washington University as an assistant professor in 1990, he received early tenure and promotion to associate professor in 1995, and was promoted to full professor in 1999.

Bibliographic information


From the book reviews:

“The book’s 14 chapters are organized in two parts, including an introductory chapter. … As an academic, research-oriented work, it is sold as a technical text; however, much of the content would be of interest to the well-educated public. … I strongly recommend this book.” (Dolores E. McCarthy, PsycCRITIQUES, Vol. 59 (32), August, 2014)

“Watkins (Eastern Washington Univ.) has written a comprehensive, well-organized, engaging book on gratitude as essential emotion, trait, and mood state. … This 14-chapter book has three sections. … Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.” (D. S. Dunn, Choice, Vol. 51 (7), March, 2014)