The Wishes and Expression of Gratitude of Youth
Little research has examined the development of gratitude in youth, and none has related their gratitude to their wishes. We therefore asked 358 7- to 14-year-old North American participants (56% female; 55% White) to write their greatest wish and what they would do for their benefactor. Using chi-square and linear curve estimation, we found that younger youth (aged 7 to 10) were significantly more likely to express hedonistic wishes (desire for immediate gain) and concrete gratitude (not taking the benefactor's wishes into account); older youth (aged 11 to 14) were significantly more likely to wish either for something involving future well-being for themselves or the well-being of others and connective gratitude (taking into account the benefactor's wishes). Within both age groups, there was a significant inverse relation between hedonistic wishes and connective gratitude. This research has implications for encouraging the feeling and expression of connective gratitude.
Wang, Yudan C., "The Wishes and Expression of Gratitude of Youth" (2015). Faculty Publications. 132.