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The feeling of gratitude in 5- to 12-year-old children

Lia Beatriz de Lucca Freitas Paula Grazziotin Silveira Maria Adélia Minghelli Pieta About the authors

Results are presented from a study about the development of the feeling of gratitude in childhood. The participants were 12 children, distributed equally across three age groups (5-6, 7-8, and 11-12 years) and by sex. The study used three stories about hypothetical situations, each focusing on a different type of benevolent action. Following each story, a clinical interview was conducted with each child. The results suggest a difference among the age groups in terms of the types of positive feeling attributed to the beneficiary of the action. Although few participants referred explicitly to this, considering the beneficiary's changed feeling state appears to contribute to the understanding of gratitude. The results reveal significant differences among the three age groups in the types of relation established between the satisfaction felt by the beneficiary and the benefactor. These results, discussed in light of the literature, suggest new research questions.

Development; feelings; gratitude

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