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Appl Dev Sci. 2017;21(2):106-120. doi: 10.1080/10888691.2016.1175945. Epub 2016 May 24.

Grateful parents raising grateful children: Niche selection and the socialization of child gratitude.

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.
North Carolina State University.
Duke University.


Given that children's exposure to gratitude-related activities may be one way that parents can socialize gratitude in their children, we examined whether parents' niche selection (i.e., tendency to choose perceived gratitude-inducing activities for their children) mediates the association between parents' reports of their own and their children's gratitude. Parent-child dyads (N =101; children aged 6-9; 52% girls; 80% Caucasian; 85% mothers) participated in a laboratory visit and parents also completed a seven-day online diary regarding children's gratitude. Decomposing specific indirect effects within a structural equation model, we found that parents high in gratitude were more likely to set goals to use niche selection as a gratitude socialization strategy, and thereby more likely to place their children in gratitude-related activities. Placement in these activities, in turn, was associated with more frequent expression of gratitude in children. We describe future directions for research on parents' role in socializing gratitude in their children.


child; gratitude; niche selection; parent; socialization

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