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J Adolesc. 2013 Oct;36(5):983-91. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2013.07.012. Epub 2013 Aug 28.

Gratitude is associated with greater levels of protective factors and lower levels of risks in African American adolescents.

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  • 1Nova Southeastern University, Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences, Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 3301 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314, USA.


The literature suggests gratitude is associated with positive youth development. The current study examined the relationship between gratitude and protective/risk factors among African American youth. Adolescents (N = 389; 50.4% males) ages 12-14 completed measures of gratitude (moral affect and life-orientation), protective factors (e.g., academic and activity engagement, family relationship), and high-risk behaviors (e.g., sexual attitudes and behaviors, drug/alcohol use). Results indicated greater moral affect gratitude was the only variable significantly associated with greater academic interest, better academic performance, and more extra-curricular activity engagement. Greater moral affect and life-orientation gratitude both significantly correlated with positive family relationship. Greater life-orientation gratitude was the only variable significantly associated with abstinence from sexual intimacy, sexual intercourse, likelihood of engaging in sex during primary school, and abstinence from drug/alcohol use. The findings suggest that moral affect gratitude may enhance protective factors while life-orientation gratitude may buffer against high-risk behaviors among African American youth.

Copyright © 2013 The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Adolescents; Gratitude; Protective factors; Sexual behaviors

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