The Effect of Gratitude and Gender on the Self-Esteem and Well-Being of Irish College Students.
The aim of the present study was to investigate whether gratitude and gender have an effect on self-esteem and well-being. This study also examined the relationship between self-esteem and well-being.
Gratitude is described as a feeling experienced in interpersonal exchanges, when one individual acknowledges receiving a benefit of value from another. Until recently, gratitude has not been examined in great depth in the literature. The benefits that arise from expressing gratitude appear to be so compelling, that gratitude has been named the ‘poster child’ of the positive psychology movement. Gratitude is linked to positive mental health and satisfaction with life, more so than any other personality trait. Self-esteem and psychological well-being are essential to maintaining positive mental health. College students are often faced with a multitude of stressful situations which lead to low self-esteem and effect their psychological well-being. This highlights the importance of examining the link that traits such as gratitude may have with self-esteem and well-being in college students. It is thought that men may view expressing gratitude as a threat to their masculinity. There is conflicting research on gender differences in self-esteem. Gender differences have been reported in relation to well-being, with previous research stating that women tend to have higher well-being than men. Previous research has examined gratitude in relation to well-being and gratitude in relation to self-esteem, but to date, the effects gratitude level and gender have on the well-being and self-esteem of college students in Ireland has not been studied. For this reason, the present study seeks to investigate whether gratitude and gender have an effect on self-esteem and well-being in college students.
Results indicated that gratitude level had an effect on well-being, with participants who had higher gratitude level scoring higher on measures of well-being. A weak, positive correlation between self-esteem and well-being was also observed. Gratitude was found to have no effect on self-esteem and no gender differences were found in self-esteem or well-being.