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Date: Nov 04, 2010
Hofstra Professor’s Study Finds Grateful Youth Experience Lasting Sense of Well-being
Positive effects of feeling thankful persist up to six months later
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY - A new study by a Hofstra professor has found that grateful young people feel better about their lives and are more likely to want to get involved in charitable causes or volunteer work, and those effects last up to six months after feeling or expressing gratitude .
The study, conducted in a Long Island, N.Y. school district by Jeffrey Froh, assistant professor of psychology at Hofstra, surveyed 700 middle school students in grades 6-8. The research, published recently in the journal Motivation and Emotion, builds on previous studies by Froh examining gratitude in young people and its impact on their behavior. It is the first longitudinal research of gratitude among young people.
The findings indicate that adolescents who feel gratitude are more socially integrated, and that thankfulness appears to ignite a impulse to help others. And those positive effects linger: the study shows that young people feel a sense of well-being and life satisfaction up to three months later, and that the desire to help others lasts up to six months.
"Gratitude, a positive response to receiving a benefit, predicted pro-social behavior and life satisfaction three months later, which in turn predicted feeling connected to one's community and having a passion for using one's strengths to help society six months later," Froh said. "Further, gratitude and social integration appear to feed off each other, suggesting that gratitude may lead to greater emotional and social well-being. Indeed, gratitude may spark in young people a desire to give back to their neighborhood, community and world."
Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution where students can choose from about 150 undergraduate and more than 160 graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, business; engineering; communication; education, health and human services; and honors studies, as well as a School of Law and the Hofstra-North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.