College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 11-24-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Ralph Erber, PhD

Second Advisor

Kimberly Quinn, PhD

Third Advisor

Verena Graupmann, PhD


Two studies investigated the interpersonal and intrapersonal functions of gratitude expressions. In Study 1, participants expressed gratitude to a confederate in a lab paradigm (or expressed it privately) and consequently rated the confederate as significantly warmer and more competent. Sharing gratitude also led to a fortification of basic needs (belonging, self-esteem, meaning in life, and control). Study 2 attempted to replicate these results in addition to evaluating their own warmth and competence. Participants completed a week-long gratitude intervention that tested potential differences in the proposed two-factor model of gratitude expressions (manner of expression: private/shared, focus of gratitude: person/situation). The hypotheses that participants who share person-focused gratitude with their romantic partners will have higher satisfaction of needs and feel closer to their partner were not supported. Together, these studies create a mixed impression of gratitude’s effects. Study 2 had severe limitations due to a deviation in the data collection method due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore a replication of this study should be performed, and its findings weighed carefully.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons