THE IMPACT OF GRATITUDE INTERVENTIONS ON SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL HEALTH OF MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS
A growing body of research reveals that gratitude has the power to benefit one’s social-emotional health, subjective well-being, lead to responsible decision-making, social awareness, relationships, longevity, sleep, job satisfaction, student engagement, school support, satisfaction with school, physical health, teacher-student relationship, enhance critical thinking, promote student engagement and assist in developing a healthy school culture. This study delves into the effects of gratitude interventions on social and emotional health for middle school students. Out of the total classes (N = 29), nearly half of the classes (N = 17) participated in a 15-week intervention, while the nonintervention group (N = 12) did not. Over the 15 weeks, the intervention classes practiced gratitude through maintaining a journal, along with weekly quotes, stories, and videos. All classes (N = 29) took a pretest survey (week 1) followed by a posttest (week 15). The survey consisted of Dr. Michael Furlong and his colleagues’ (2013) Social-Emotional Health Survey (SEHS) and the Gratitude Questionnaire (GQ-6) developed by Dr. Michael McCullough (2002). The quantitative data analysis revealed significant results for the intervention in the following areas: selfefficacy (p = .03), persistence (p = .01), gratitude (p < .01), GQ-6 (p < .01), and specific GQ-6 questions (p < .05). Additional findings related to a significance in grade level: self-efficacy (p < .01), school support (p = .04), peer support (p < .01), emotional regulation (p = .02), zest: energetic (p = .01) and lively (p = .03), and specific GQ-6 questions (p < .05). For the qualitative data student and parent responses were gathered from open-ended questions (during the intervention and at the end of the survey), student journals, and weekly feedback on student goal sheets student writing samples. Lastly, qualitative results were found for 11 of the 12 blocks of positive psychology: self-awareness, self-efficacy, persistence, family coherence, peer support, school support, gratitude, optimism, emotional regulation, self-control, and empathy. This study contributes to the groundbreaking research of gratitude by exploring how it impacts middle school students’ social-emotional health.