First-year college students are vulnerable to developing psychopathology during the transition to college. Gratitude interventions have been effective at decreasing depressive symptoms and increasing well-being. There are mixed findings on whether gratitude directed toward a specific person is more effective than a general expression of gratitude. The present investigation has two research aims from a data collection involving a three-group randomized gratitude intervention study and a short-term longitudinal mediation model. The first research aim evaluated group comparisons related to well-being, positive affect, satisfaction with life, depressive symptoms, and quality of the parent-child relationship. The second research aim investigated the mechanisms between gratitude and well-being. Three possible mechanisms were investigated: social support, coping style, and positive affect. A total of 267 first-year college students completed online measures pre-intervention, participated in a 2-week intervention, and then completed measures at three time points post-intervention. In the first research aim, there were no significant group differences on any of the dependent variables. Regarding the mediation analyses, only positive affect significantly mediated the relation between gratitude and well-being. Implications, limitations, and future directions are discussed.

Degree Date

Summer 2020

Document Type


Degree Name





George Holden

Number of Pages