Gratitude and Its Relationship with Students’ Psychological Well-Being and Happiness

  • Dorkas Ping Bilong Faculty of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development, University Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), Sarawak, Malaysia
  • Ida Juliana Hutasuhut Faculty of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development, University Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), Sarawak, Malaysia
  • Mohamad Azhari Abu Bakar Faculty of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development, University Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), Sarawak, Malaysia
  • Nurul Wardhani Faculty of Psychology, University of Padjadjaran, Bandung, Indonesia
Keywords: gratitude, psychological well-being, happiness


This study examines gratitude among undergraduate students of a public university in Malaysia and its relationship with psychological well-being and happiness. This study took 149 samples randomly from 235 undergraduate students who were asked to participate in answering Gratitude Questionnaire-6, Ryff's Scale of Psychological Well Being, and Subjective Happiness Scale. Correlation analysis shows a positive relationship between gratitude and students' psychological well-being and happiness. This study supports the previous studies that practicing gratitude is a positive way to enhance students' healthy psychological well-being and happiness in their life. This study recommends the university management to take consideration to cultivate gratitude practice embedded in the curriculum or in the extracurricular activities.


Download data is not yet available.


Aghababaei, N., Błachnio, A., & Aminikhoo, M. (2018). The relations of gratitude to religiosity, well-being, and personality. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 21(4), 408-417.

Alsukah, A. I., & Basha, S. E. (2021). The relative contribution of mindfulness and gratitude in predicting happiness among university students. Journal of Educational and Social Research, 11(4), 314-314.

Auerbach, R. P., Mortier, P., Bruffaerts, R., Alonso, J., Benjet, C., Cuijpers, P., Demyttenaere, K., Ebert, D. D., Green, J. G., Hasking, P., Murray, E., Nock, M. K., Pinder-Amaker, S., Sampson, N. A., Stein, D. J., Vilagut, G., Zaslavsky, A. M., Kessler, R. C., & WHO WMH-ICS Collaborators. (2018). WHO world mental health surveys international college student project: Prevalence and distribution of mental disorders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 127(7), 623–638. Retrieved from

Bayani, A. A., Koocheky, A. M., & Bayani, A. (2008). Reliability and validity of Ryff’s psychological well-being scales. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology, 14, 146-151.

Behzadipour, S., Sadeghi, A., & Sepahmansour, M. (2018). A study on the effect of gratitude on happiness and well-being. Biquarterly Iranian Journal of Health Psychology, 1(2), 65-72.

Brown, J., & Wong, J. (2017). How gratitude changes you and your brain. Retrieved from

Bruffaerts, R., Mortier, P., Kiekens, G., Auerbach, R. P., Cuijpers, P., Demyttenaere, K., Green, J.G., Nock, M.K., & Kessler, R. C. (2018). Mental health problems in college freshmen: Prevalence and academic functioning. Journal of Affective Disorders, 225, 97-103.

Chavan, S., Deshmukh, J., & Singh, B. (2017). Role of mindfulness, belief in personal control, gratitude on happiness among college students. Indian Journal of Health & Wellbeing, 8(10), 1184-1186.

Chowdhury, M. R. (n, d.). The neuroscience of gratitude and how it affects anxiety & grief. Retrieved from

Christanto, S. A., Brenda, D., Assisiansi, C., Pangestu, M. J., Sarita, I., & Sulistiani, V. (2017). Gratitude letter: An effort to increase subjective well-being in college. ANIMA Indonesian Psychological Journal, 32(3), 158-168.

Cleofas, J. V. (2020). Student involvement, mental health, and quality of life of college students in a selected university in Manila, Philippines. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 25(1), 435-447.

Dioszeghy, B. D. (2018). Gratitude in relationships: A study on gratitude, attachment, and relationship satisfaction. Educational Specialist, 2009-2019. 130. Retrieved from

Duckworth, A. L, Steen, T. A., & Seligman, M. E. (2005). Positive psychology in clinical practice. Annu. Rev. Clin. Psychol., 1, 629-651.

Elosúa, M. R. (2015). The influence of gratitude in physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being. Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health, 17(2), 110-118.

Emmons, R. A., & Crumpler, C. A. (2000). Gratitude as a human strength: Appraising the evidence. Journal of social and Clinical Psychology, 19(1), 56-69.

Emmons, R.A. (2004). The psychology of gratitude. In R.A. Emmons & M.E. McCullough (Eds.), The psychology of gratitude (pp. 3–16). New York: Oxford University Press.

Emmons, R.A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol, 84, 377–389.

Froh, J. J., Kashdan, T. B., Ozimkowski, K. M., & Miller, N. (2009). Who benefits the most from a gratitude intervention in children and adolescents? Examining positive affect as a moderator. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4(5), 408-422.

Gray, S. A., Emmons, R. A., & Morrison, A. (2001). Distinguishing gratitude from indebtedness in affect and action tendencies. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA.

Greenberg, M. (2015). How gratitude leads to a happier life. Retrieved from

Hemarajarajeswari, J., & Gupta, P. K. (2021). Gratitude, psychological well-being, and happiness among college students: a correlational study. Terapan, 5(2), 260-270.

Hutasuhut, I., Adruce, S. A. Z., & Jonathan, V. (2021). How a learning organization cultivates self-directed learning. Journal of Workplace Learning, 33(5), 334-347.

Jin, N., Line, N. D., & Yoon, D. (2018). Understanding the role of gratitude in building quality relationships. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 27(4), 465-485.

Kardas, F., Zekeriya, C. A. M., Eskisu, M., & Gelibolu, S. (2019). Gratitude, hope, optimism, and life satisfaction as predictors of psychological well-being. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 19(82), 81-100.

Kausar, R. (2018). Relationship between gratitude and happiness in college students. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, 9(1), 109-113.

Kim, H., & Qu, H. (2020). The mediating roles of gratitude and obligation to link employees’ social exchange relationships and prosocial behavior. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 32(2), 644-664. Retrieved from

Kumari, M. H., & Madnawat, A. V. S. (2016). Gratitude and forgiveness as a predictor of well-being among female college students. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, 7(4), 511-514.

Layous, K., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2014). The how, why, what, when, and who of happiness. Positive Emotion: Integrating the Light Sides and Dark Sides, 473-495.

Loi, N. M., & Ng, D. H. (2021). The relationship between gratitude, wellbeing, spirituality, and experiencing meaningful work. Psych, 3(2), 85-95.

Lyubomirsky, S., & Lepper, H. S. (1999). A measure of subjective happiness: Preliminary reliability and construct validation. Social Indicators Research, 46(2), 137–155. Retrieved from

Măirean, C., Turliuc, M. N., & Arghire, D. (2019). The relationship between trait gratitude and psychological wellbeing in university students: The mediating role of affective state and the moderating role of state gratitude. Journal of Happiness Studies, 20(5), 1359-1377.

McCullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., & Tsang, J. (2002). The grateful disposition: A conceptual and empirical topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 112-127.

Nailah Najwa Zainoodin., Hutasuhut, I. J., Mohamad Azhari Abu Bakar., & Nurul Wardhani. (2021). Gratitude and its relationship to resilience and academic performance among university students. Journal of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development, 7(2), 57-70.

Rajan, R., & Easvaradoss, V. (2012). The effect of happiness related to psychological intervention on happiness, forgiveness, and gratitude among adolescents. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, 3(4), 402-405.

Rash, J. A., Matsuba, M. K., & Prkachin, K. M. (2011). Gratitude and well‐being: Who benefits the most from a gratitude intervention? Applied Psychology: Health and Well‐Being, 3(3), 350-369.

Roberts, R. C. (2004). The blessings of gratitude: A conceptual analysis. The Psychology of Gratitude, 58-78.

Robustelli, B. L., & Whisman, M. A. (2018). Gratitude and life satisfaction in the United States and Japan. Journal of Happiness Studies, 19(1), 41-55.

Saleem, S., Mahmood, Z., & Naz, M. (2013). Mental health problems in university students: A prevalence study. FWU Journal of Social Sciences, 7(2), 124-130.

Sapmaz, F., Yıldırım, M., Topçuoğlu, P., Nalbant, D., & Sızır, U. (2016). Gratitude, forgiveness, and humility as predictors of subjective well-being among university students. International Online Journal of Educational Sciences, 8(1), 38-47.

Seligman, M. E.P. & Royzman, E. (2003). Authentic happiness. Retrieved from

Sheldon, K. M., Kashdan, T. B., & Steger, M. F. (Eds.). (2010). Designing positive psychology: Taking stock and moving forward. Oxford University Press.

Sin, N. L., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2009). Enhancing well‐being and alleviating depressive symptoms with positive psychology interventions: A practice‐friendly meta‐analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(5), 467-487.

Singh, B., Salve, S., & Shejwal, B. R. (2017). Role of gratitude, personality, and psychological well-being in happiness among young adults. Indian Journal of Health & Wellbeing, 8(6), 432-435.

Stoerkel, E. (2020). The science and research on gratitude and happiness. Retrieved from

Tian, L., Pi, L., Huebner, E. S., & Du, M. (2016). Gratitude and adolescents’ subjective well-being in school: The multiple mediating roles of basic psychological needs satisfaction at school. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1-8.

Toepfer, S. M., Cichy, K., & Peters, P. (2012). Letters of gratitude: Further evidence for author benefits. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13(1), 187-201.

Watkins, P. C., Cruz, L., Holben, H., & Kolts, R. L. (2008). Taking care of business? Grateful processing of unpleasant memories. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 3(2), 87-99.

Watkins, P. C., Woodward, K., Stone, T., & Kolts, R. L. (2003). Gratitude and happiness: Development of a measure of gratitude, and relationships with subjective well-being. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 31(5), 431-451.

Watkins, P.C. (2004). Gratitude and subjective well-being. In R.A. Emmons & M.E. McCullough (Eds.), The psychology of gratitude (pp. 167–192). New York: Oxford University Press.

Wilson, J. T. (2016). Brightening the mind: The impact of practicing gratitude on focus and resilience in learning. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 16(4), 1-13.

Wood, A. M., Joseph, S., & Maltby, J. (2009). Gratitude predicts psychological well-being above the Big Five facets. Personality and Individual Differences, 46(4), 443-447.

Yildirim, M., & Alanazi, Z. S. (2018). Gratitude and life satisfaction: Mediating role of perceived stress. International Journal of Psychological Studies, 10(3), 21-28.

Yoo J. (2020). Gratitude and subjective well-being among Koreans. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(22), 8467. Retrieved from

Zivin, K., Eisenberg, D., Gollust, S. E., & Golberstein, E. (2009). Persistence of mental health problems and needs in a college student population. Journal of Affective Disorders, 117(3), 180-185.
How to Cite
Ping Bilong, D., Hutasuhut, I., Abu Bakar, M. A. and Wardhani, N. (2021) “Gratitude and Its Relationship with Students’ Psychological Well-Being and Happiness”, Malaysian Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities (MJSSH), 6(11), pp. 236 - 244. doi: 10.47405/mjssh.v6i11.1176.