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This field experiment examined the effects of a gratefulness intervention in the context of a Christian church congregation. Two Christian congregations with comparable demographic and socio-economic characteristics were enrolled and assigned to the experimental and comparison conditions. The gratitude intervention was developed collaboratively with church leaders. Though within-subject effects were found for psychological well-being, spiritual well-being, life satisfaction, positive and negative affect, daily spiritual experiences, and favorable views of psychology and interdisciplinary collaboration, the comparison group showed similar increases to the intervention group. Thus, the effects of the gratitude intervention were supported within but not across groups. No significant changes occurred on measures of interpersonal engagement. This research represents the first quasi-experiment to study a gratitude intervention within a faith congregation. In spite of methodological limitations, it highlights the potential benefit of gratitude interventions designed in collaboration with clergy.


Originally published in Journal of Psychology and Theology; La Mirada Vol. 45, Iss. 1, (Spring 2017): 46-57.