Meagan Ramsey, a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of Psychology at West Virginia University is conducting a weeklong research study on child gratitude through the “Family Gratitude Project.”

The goal of the intervention study is to increase parent and child gratitude by asking parents of children ages eight to 13 to engage in daily discussions designed to affect behavior of the family in daily activities.

“I’m interested in increasing well-being, which means having high life satisfaction, a lot of positive emotions and less negative emotions. Research has (shown) that people who are very grateful tend to experience more well-being, and they just tend to be happier overall,” Ramsey said.

Her study will begin with families filling out brief surveys about their daily behaviors and activities, to determine the level of gratitude they experience.

Following the survey, she will provide one of three possible topics for the families to discuss in daily family meetings for a week. For the sake of the research, Ramsey has chosen to keep the topics undisclosed.

Families will complete daily surveys for that week. A week after the discussions conclude, she will distribute another survey to analyze how effective the study was for each family.

“There’s tons of information out there for parents (on how to make a child more grateful), but it really hasn’t been empirically tested,” Ramsy said. “So parents are getting all of this information and all of these different ideas, but we don’t know if they’re actually working.

“If this is effective, as we expect it to be, I think it would be pretty impressive because I’m just asking them to have a short, three-minute conversation for a few nights in a row. That’s something that parents could easily work into their lives. If we could show that something so simple is effective, that could have a big impact.”

Ramsey is studying under the supervision of Amy Gentzler, associate professor of psychology at WVU.

Participants for the study are being accepted on an ongoing basis. If you would like to volunteer and are the primary caregiver of a child age eight to 13, please contact Meagan Ramsey at 606-782-0806 or Families can receive up to $50 for participating in the full study.



CONTACT: Devon Copeland, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

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