Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Amy L Gentzler

Committee Co-Chair

Aaron Metzger

Committee Member

Amy Root


Research shows that the gratitude is associated with positive mental health in both adults and children. However, research on how gratitude is learned or socialized is limited. The goal of the proposed study was to examine parental socialization of gratitude and its relation to children's gratitude to predict children's positive affect, depressive symptoms, and social skills. A mediation model was tested to determine if children's gratitude explained the link between mother socialization and child outcomes. It was expected that these indirect paths would be stronger for older children. Participants were 95 mother-child dyads who completed a battery of questionnaires and a video-recorded discussion task that was coded for socialization and understanding of gratitude. Using Hayes' PROCESS, a moderated mediation model indicated that mother's elaboration of gratitude during the discussion task was associated with higher levels of communication skills for children through children's understanding of gratitude, with the path from children's gratitude understanding to communication being moderated by child age. In other words, mothers' socialization of gratitude led to a better understanding of gratitude for children, which then led to increased communication skills for older children specifically. These results are important because they provide evidence for the paths through which gratitude is socialized in children. As a result, this study may prompt further research and the development of gratitude interventions to increase gratitude understanding in children and ultimately, the overall well-being and social skills of individuals.