The Gratitude Collection by Lilian Jans-Beken PhD

This collection contains articles on state and trait gratitude associated with the dimensions of human health.

Welcome to the Gratitude Collection

ScienceOpen Research


positive psychology, trait gratitude, state gratitude, positive health

Main article text

Positive psychology is a new branch within psychology and here to stay. The last decades researchers became more and more interested in positive emotions and positive health. In this area I became fascinated in the value of state and trait gratitude.

Gratitude can be seen as a state or a trait. State gratitude is an emotion based on the ability to be empathic, resulting from both appraising a received benefit as a positive outcome as well as recognizing that this positive outcome stems from an external source, and this emotion promotes reciprocity and prosocial behavior (Bartlett & DeSteno, 2006; Lazarus & Lazarus, 1996; Tsang, 2006; Wood, Maltby, Stewart, Linley, & Joseph, 2008).

Gratitude as a trait can be viewed as a wider life orientation towards noticing and being grateful for the positive in the world. Paying attention with gratitude to anything in the world and not just a beneficiary makes the individual more likely to show more personal, social, and prosocial behavior (Wood, Froh, & Geraghty, 2010).

In 2011, dr. Machteld Huber proposed a new definition of health: Health as the ability to adapt and to self-manage, in the face of social, physical and emotional challenges, i.e. positive health (Huber et al., 2011). This definition represents a broader view on health and wellbeing. Research shows that positive health is composed of six dimensions: bodily functions, mental well-being, meaning in life, quality of life, social and societal participation, and daily functioning (Huber et al., 2016). Articles here will be directed towards gratitude associated with one of these dimensions.

This collections will focus on Open Access articles that are available right now and will be published in the future. Open Access is important for advancement of research itself but it is also important for non-academics to access scientific research to facilitate the development of applied positive psychology in daily practice.

Scientific discussions are necessary to combine knowledge and insights from all scientists in the world researching gratitude. If you know someone who is interested, let him/her join Science Open and this collection. If you know an Open Access article that is not added to the collection, let me know also; when I am able to add it, I will. Feel free to comment on articles gathered in this collection. Make sure you stay polite and comment on the content. We are all scientists with the best intentions and open for feedback when given in the right way. Enjoy this collection!



Bartlett, M. Y., & DeSteno, D. (2006). Gratitude and prosocial behavior helping when it costs you. Psychological science, 17(4), 319-325.

Huber, M., Knottnerus, J. A., Green, L., Horst, H. v. d., Jadad, A. R., Kromhout, D., . . . Smid, H. (2011). How should we define health? BMJ, 343. doi:10.1136/bmj.d4163

Huber, M., van Vliet, M., Giezenberg, M., Winkens, B., Heerkens, Y., Dagnelie, P. C., & Knottnerus, J. A. (2016). Towards a ‘patient-centred’ operationalisation of the new dynamic concept of health: a mixed methods study. BMJ Open, 6(1). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010091

Lazarus, R. S., & Lazarus, B. N. (1996). Passion and reason: Making sense of our emotions: Oxford University Press, USA.

Tsang, J.-A. (2006). Gratitude and prosocial behaviour: An experimental test of gratitude. Cognition & Emotion, 20(1), 138-148.

Wood, A. M., Froh, J. J., & Geraghty, A. W. A. (2010). Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 890-905. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2010.03.005

Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Stewart, N., Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S. (2008). A social-cognitive model of trait and state levels of gratitude. Emotion, 8(2), 281-290. doi:10.1037/1528-3542.8.2.281

ScienceOpen Research
29 April 2016


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