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Open Access Publications from the University of California

An Upward Spiral Between Gratitude and Humility

  • Author(s): Kruse, E
  • Chancellor, J
  • Ruberton, PM
  • Lyubomirsky, S
  • et al.

© The Author(s) 2014. In two experiments and one diary study, we examined the relationship between self- and other-oriented processes by considering how gratitude can influence humility and vice versa. Humility is characterized by low self-focus, secure sense of self, and increased valuation of others. Gratitude is marked by a sense that one has benefited from the actions of another. In the first experiment, participants who wrote a gratitude letter showed higher state humility than those who performed a neutral activity. In the second experiment, baseline state humility predicted the amount of gratitude felt after writing a gratitude letter compared to a neutral activity. Finally, in a 14-day diary study, humility and gratitude mutually predicted one another, even after controlling for the other’s prior level. Our results suggest that humility and gratitude are mutually reinforcing.

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