Children’s and adolescents’ gratitude expression and its association with their greatest wishes across ethnic groups in the United States

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: Gratitude, as a moral virtue, emphasizes reciprocity and interpersonal relations; its development involves cognitive abilities, moral understandings, and socially learned expectations. This paper aimed to explore ethnic variation in the expression of gratitude among 595 children and adolescents aged 7 to 14 (mean age?=?9.71, SD?=?2.17) in the United States (European Americans, Brazilians, Hispanics, and African Americans) and the association between gratitude and participants’ wishes and age. Results indicated that Brazilians and Hispanics were more likely to use verbal (e.g., “thank you”) than concrete gratitude (reciprocation without considering the benefactor’s needs) than were African Americans. Older participants were less likely to express concrete than verbal and connective gratitude (reciprocation considering the benefactor’s needs). Hedonistic wishes were linked to a greater likelihood of expressing verbal than connective gratitude for Brazilians compared to Hispanics. Self-oriented wishes were linked to a greater likelihood of expressing connective than verbal gratitude for Brazilians and African Americans compared to Hispanics. African Americans were less likely to express verbal than concrete gratitude when expressing self-oriented wishes than were Hispanics. This study provides evidence of developmental and cultural aspects of gratitude expression and calls attention to within-society variability.

Additional Information

Current Psychology
Language: English
Date: 2019
Gratitude, Child and adolescent development, Ethnicity, Moral development

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