Saturday, November 18, 2017

Measuring Gratitude




I have written elsewhere about gratitude. People high in the virtue of gratitude are often high in other virtues as well such as optimism and life satisfaction. They also tend to be more religious. In the previous post, The Psychology of Gratitude, I list some suggestions to increase gratitude.


In this post, I refer to a set of items to assess gratitude. The Gratitude Questionnaire uses six items and was published by McCullough, Emmons, and Tsang in 2002.



In previous research, the authors found support for one factor. Coefficient alpha, a measure of interitem consistency, ranged from .76 to .84 in samples reported by the authors  (McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002; McCullough, Tsang, & Emmons, 2002).


Rating the Scale Items

When using the scale in surveys the items are rated on a 7-point scale from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (7). High scores indicate a higher level of self-reported gratitude.

Here's the 7-point rating: 1 = strongly disagree 2 = disagree 3 = slightly disagree 4 = neutral 5 = slightly agree 6 = agree 7 = strongly agree

Here is the six-item scale:

____1. I have so much in life to be thankful for.

____2. If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list.

____3. When I look at the world, I don’t see much to be grateful for.*

____4. I am grateful to a wide variety of people.

____5. As I get older I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history.

____6. Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone.*

*The items marked with an asterisk are reverse scored so a score of 7 counts as 1 and a score of 6 become 2 and so on.

The total score should be between 6 and 42.

A score of 38 was at the 50th percentile in a sample of 1,224. See the link for more information.

And, here is a link to research studies using the scale (Gratitude Questionnaire). You will find information on scoring and interpreting the scores.

The scale has been used in research studies along with other scales.

It may also be relevant in some counseling situations.



Learn more assessment and statistical concepts in

Applied Statistics: Concepts for Counselors


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Gratitude References

McCullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., & Tsang, J. (2002). The grateful disposition: A conceptual and empirical topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 112-127.

McCullough, M. E., Tsang, J., & Emmons, R. A. (2004). Gratitude in intermediate affective terrain: Links of grateful moods to individual differences and daily emotional experience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 295-309.

Also, learn more about assessment and statistics at the Applied Statistics website


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