Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor/Committee Member

Munyi Shea, PhD

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Robin Henrikson, PhD

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Jordan Shannon, PhD


Positive psychology intervention, gratitude intervention, college students, curriculum-embedded


The present study examined the effectiveness of a curriculum-embedded, asynchronously delivered gratitude intervention with a first-year college student sample. Hypotheses included that the gratitude intervention would lead to decreased levels of depression, anxiety, and stress and increased feelings of gratitude and psychological wellbeing/flourishing. Furthermore, race, gender, and college generational standing were examined for their moderating effects of the gratitude intervention on the same outcome variables. Participants self-selected into two sections of an Introduction to Psychology course, with 72 participants engaged in the gratitude intervention and 97 in the control condition. Gratitude activities lasted five weeks, including a video presentation on gratitude, Count Your Blessings, Gratitude Letter, and Three Good Things. Participants in both conditions completed pre- and posttest measures for depression, anxiety, stress, gratitude, and wellbeing. Repeated measures ANOVA and independent-sample t-test were conducted to compare how the two conditions changed between pre and posttest. Participants in the gratitude intervention reported a statistically significant decrease in depression but not anxiety or stress compared to the control group participants. There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in pre- and posttest change in the feelings of wellbeing or gratitude. Except for the interaction between gender and stress, race, gender, or college-generation status had no significant moderating effect on any outcome variables. Study strengths, limitations, and implications for future research and practice are discussed.

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