The Role of Social Support in the Relationship Between Gratitude and Materialism
Bailey, Erika Leigh
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Research has shown gratitude to be beneficial to well-being, in part because it serves to enhance our social ties with others. Mindfulness also plays a role in this relationship, as increased mindfulness may cause individuals to pay more attention to others’ prosocial acts, thus further enhancing feelings of gratitude. However, individualistic tendencies may lessen this effect, as these individuals may be more focused on self-enhancement rather than gratitude. Study 1 involved an administration of an online survey to undergraduate student participants (N=522, 381 female, 141 male). Results showed a significant positive relationship between perceived social support and gratitude, for both the gratitude of others subscale and the gratitude of abundance subscale. In our second study, we examined whether increasing one’s state of mindful awareness would enhance the effect of a gratitude manipulation, which in turn would influence a greater sense of support from others. We also tested whether individualism would moderate this relationship. Participants of Study 2 (N=172, 132 female, 40 male) were randomly assigned to a mindfulness manipulation or control and a gratitude manipulation or control. Participants then completed a questionnaire measuring perceived social support (belonging support and tangible support) and individualism. Findings showed that individuals in the mindfulness and gratitude conditions reported greater perceived tangible support (β = .599, t = 2.02, p = .045), but not greater belonging support.