Journal of Relationships Research

Articles

Being Grateful: Does it Bring Us Closer? Gratitude, Attachment and Intimacy in Romantic Relationships

Atholl J. Murraya1 c1 and Zoe J. Hazelwooda2

a1 Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. atholl.murray@qut.edu.au

a2 Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.

Abstract

To date, little is known about the function of gratitude in romantic relationships. Being grateful has been demonstrated to provide a number of positive benefits for individuals; however, few studies have explored how grateful experiences may be beneficial in enhancing romantic relationships. This study explored the extent to which adult attachment moderates the relationship between dispositional gratitude and the experience of intimacy within romantic relationships. A greater disposition toward gratitude was expected to result in more frequent experiences of gratitude. It was also anticipated that experiences of gratitude would be associated with feelings of closeness. Participants (n = 156) were required to be currently in a relationship of at least six months duration and completed a series of questionnaires assessing dispositional gratitude, attachment and emotional intimacy. Moderation analysis revealed that although a positive, weak correlation existed between dispositional gratitude and intimacy, attachment did not moderate this association. It was concluded that further investigation of the experience of gratitude is necessary to understand the function of gratitude in romantic relationships. Methods focusing on specific experiences of gratitude in romantic relationships, and the associated feelings of closeness experienced by each partner, may yield more conclusive findings and may provide support for therapeutic approaches focused on enhancing closeness between couples by increasing experiences of gratitude.

Keywords

  • romantic relationships;
  • intimacy;
  • gratitude;
  • attachment

Correspondence:

c1 ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE: Atholl Murray, Queensland University of Technology, School of Psychology and Counselling, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove QLD 4059, Australia.