The Meaning and Valence of Gratitude in Positive Psychology

Liz Gulliford*, Blaire Morgan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


Before discussing this research, we should consider what it means to describe gratitude–or hope, joy or awe–as “positive” traits,“positive” emotions or “positive” strengths of character. A common way in which “positive” is applied in positive psychology–and in emotion research generally (see Solomon & Stone, 2002)–rests on phenomenology: gratitude often feels good. Psychology has tended towards a hedonic view of well-being wherein “positive emotions” equate somewhat simplistically to “pleasant emotions.” On this basis, an emotion or trait can be described as “positive” simply because it feels good to experience it. There are some serious problems with this account, however.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge International Handbook of Critical Positive Psychology
EditorsNicholas Brown, Tim Lomas, Francisco Jose Eiroa-Orosa
Place of PublicationLondon & New York
Pages53 - 69
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-65979-4
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-96143-2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2017


  • Positive Psychology


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