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The association between loneliness and gratitude among university students within a daily context : an experience sampling study

Ruiz Alfranca, F. (2022) The association between loneliness and gratitude among university students within a daily context : an experience sampling study.

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Abstract:Introduction. Recent research found negative associations between loneliness and gratitude, highlighting the importance of gratitude in the context of loneliness. However, previous literature assessed these constructs mainly on the trait-level, omitting the dynamic nature of both constructs in daily life. Therefore, this study investigated this association both on the trait and state level in order to be able to distinguish between-person from within-person effects. Method. The experience sampling method (ESM) was used for seven consecutive days among 34 university students (Mage = 20.65; SDage =3.15). Recruitment was done via convenience sampling. State loneliness/gratitude was assessed three times a day, whereas trait loneliness/ gratitude once at the end of the study period with the UCLA Loneliness Scale and Multi-Component Gratitude Measure. In order to analyse the data, linear mixed model analyses (LMM) were conducted. Results. The results revealed variability in state loneliness and state gratitude within- and between persons. Strong, positive associations were found between trait and average state loneliness, as well as trait and average state gratitude. A significant negative association was found between loneliness and gratitude on the trait level. Further, the results showed a significant, negative within-person and between-person associations (β = -.30, SE=.03, p < .001 & β = -.18, SE=.05, p < .001), indicating that with higher momentary and average gratitude levels lower levels of loneliness are predicted. Conclusion. This study provides new insights into people’s momentary feelings of loneliness and gratitude, and how these constructs are associated in daily life among students, adding to and expanding existing literature. On top of that, the findings of this study can serve as an inspiration for future research, developing tailored, timed interventions aimed at decreasing people’s loneliness in daily life.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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