Gratitude and Hope: A Two-Way Street
Dr. Charlotte Witvliet
This study examined hope in relationship to other human strengths such as gratitude, self-control forgiveness, and patience. The purposes of this study were to 1) test whether hope-related measures were significant predictors of other human strengths, 2) determine which strengths best predicted hope, and 3) test hope against self-control to determine which was the strongest predictor of gratitude, forgiveness (of self and others), and patience. A sample of undergraduates (N=175 F, 80 M) completed self-reported trait measures of cognitive hope, comprehensive hope, hopelessness, gratitude, self-forgiveness, forgiveness of others, patience, and self-control. Trait hope measures were significantly and positively correlated with trait measures of gratitude, selfcontrol forgiveness of others, self-forgiveness, and patience. Trait hopelessness was inversely correlated with each of these strengths. Multiple regressions showed that trait measures of hope and hopelessness together accounted for greater variance in gratitude scores than self-control, followed by selfforgiveness, forgiveness of others, and patience scores. Of the three hope-related measures, comprehensive trait hope was the best predictor of gratitude and forgiveness of others, whereas trait hopelessness best predicted self-forgiveness and self-control. Of all of the strengths measures, gratitude was the best predictor of cognitive trait hope, comprehensive trait hope, and trait hopelessness. This study advances positive psychology by presenting hope as a significant predictor of other human strengths. Hope was strongest in predicting gratitude, and gratitude significantly predicted each hope and hopelessness measure. This suggests that cultivating genuine hope may increase levels of gratitude, and that bolstering gratitude may generate hope.
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