Gender differences in gratitude: Examining appraisals, narratives, the willingness to express emotions, and changes in psychological needs

  • Kashdan T
  • Mishra A
  • Breen W
 et al. 
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Previous work suggests women might possess an advantage over men in
experiencing and benefiting from gratitude. We examined whether women
perceive and react to gratitude differently than men. In Study 1,
women, compared with men, evaluated gratitude expression to be less
complex, uncertain, conflicting, and more interesting and exciting.
In Study 2, college students and older adults described and evaluated
a recent episode when they received a gift. Women, compared with
men, reported less burden and obligation and greater gratitude. Upon
gift receipt, older men reported the least positive affect when their
benefactors were men. In Studies 2 and 3, women endorsed higher trait
gratitude compared with men. In Study 3, over 3 months, women with
greater gratitude were more likely to satisfy needs to belong and
feel autonomous; gratitude had the opposite effect in men. The willingness
to openly express emotions partially mediated gender differences,
and effects could not be attributed to global trait affect. Results
demonstrated that men were less likely to feel and express gratitude,
made more critical evaluations of gratitude, and derived fewer benefits.
Implications for the study and therapeutic enhancement of gratitude
are discussed.

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  • Todd B. Kashdan

  • Anjali Mishra

  • William E. Breen

  • Jeffrey J. Froh

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