A Gratitude Exercise for Couples

Kenneth J. Parnell, Nathan D. Wood, Michael J. Scheel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


When individuals experience gratitude they receive many benefits, including increased meaning in life, optimism, happiness, and greater connection to others. Multiple theorists and researchers citing the benefits of gratitude have proposed gratitude interventions for couples. However, research on intentionally practicing gratitude in the complex dynamics of intimate relationships remains sparse. This study piloted a two week-long gratitude exercise to explore if intentionally practicing gratitude could improve the quality of intimate relationships with 70 heterosexual couples. APIM models indicated a positive effect between the frequency of gratitude exercises and increased positive emotion, intimacy, and relationship satisfaction for women, but not for men, after accounting for relational satisfaction prior to the exercises. Implications for couples and psychoeducational settings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-229
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Couple and Relationship Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Couples
  • dyadic data
  • gratitude
  • relationship satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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