Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Psychology: General/Experimental




This prospective study examined the relationship between trait gratitude and future joy. The purpose was to determine if trait gratitude could predict future joy. Previously, studies have not examined the specific relationship between these two emotions, but there is good reason to believe that joy is a distinct positive emotion, and gratitude may be foundational for the experience of joy. The study was done with university students taking the GRAT, GQ-6, and measures of joy at two time points, seven to nine weeks apart. Data were analyzed from 149 participants recruited from psychology classes. Participants with higher trait gratitude at Time 1, as determined by the GRAT, tended to have more joy at Time 2. However, when measuring trait gratitude with the GQ-6, this trend did not reach significance. As an exploratory analysis, I analyzed the relationship between Time 1 trait joy and Time 2 state gratitude and found a similar relationship. These findings not only support that trait gratitude may be foundational for joy over time, but also suggest joy and gratitude can support each other in an upward spiral. Future directions are also discussed.