OBJECTIVE: Gratitude plays an important role in individual and social well-being. However, less is known about the link between gratitude and experiences of interpersonal stressors. The current research examined the associations between gratitude and interpersonal transgressions.
METHOD: One cross-sectional study with a broad age range and two daily diary studies (total N = 2,348; total age range: 18-91) were used to test the associations on the between- and within-person level.
RESULTS: A consistent result across all studies was that dispositionally grateful individuals tended to report fewer interpersonal transgressions than less grateful people. In turn, people who generally reported more interpersonal transgressions were less grateful in daily life. Moreover, higher gratitude on one specific day was associated with fewer reported transgressions on the same day. However, the results from the daily diary studies indicated differences between the samples. Whereas gratitude was consistently associated with interpersonal transgressions in one daily diary sample, the findings in the second daily diary sample were less consistent.
CONCLUSION: The present findings suggest that grateful people tend to perceive their social exchanges differently and/or actually experience fewer interpersonal transgressions. Future work is needed to test the underlying mechanisms of this negative association.