Assessing variations in the expression of gratitude in youth: A three-cohort replication in southern Brazil

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jonathan R. Tudge, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Children are not born grateful; their understanding and expression of gratitude develops during childhood and adolescence. We used a qualitative measure designed to assess how youth would respond to a benefactor, hypothesizing that their types of responses would systematically alter with age, and were able to test the reliability of this measure via replication across three cohorts. Participants (N =?1101) aged 7 to 14 constituted three independent cohorts (2008, 2012, and 2015–2017) from the same southern Brazilian city. Participants’ responses were reliably coded into three types of gratitude (verbal, concrete, and connective); across samples, older youth were more likely to express verbal and connective gratitude; younger youth were more likely to express concrete gratitude. The age-related patterns of expression were very similar in each of the three samples (one discrepant result from nine possible), suggesting that it is a reliable measure with which to assess age-related changes in the expression of youth gratitude. Gratitude, we suggest, is not simply a unidimensional construct allowing judgments of how grateful individuals are; instead, our research suggests that youth of different ages express different types of gratitude, increasingly more complex, the most sophisticated of which comes closest to gratitude as a virtue.

Additional Information

Current Psychology
Language: English
Date: 2019
Adolescence, Cross-cultural, Moral development, Prosocial behavior

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