The meaning of kindness and gratitude in Japan: A mixed-methods study
Keywords:kindness, gratitude, wellbeing, depression, culture
Kindness and gratitude expression have significant wellbeing enhancing effects. However, the effect of engaging in these activities may be influenced by cultural factors. The purpose of this research was to explore how Japanese young adults construe kindness and gratitude, as well as to investigate the effect of kindness and gratitude expression on their wellbeing. Fifty-eight Japanese students were randomly allocated to three groups: acts of kindness, gratitude expression, and memorable events (as control), and engaged in the activities for three weeks. Exploratory content analysis revealed that participants in the kindness and gratitude groups referred to similar types of social support when describing the activities they had engaged in, including instrumental support (offering objects), emotional support (encouragement), and informational support (teaching). As for the effect of kindness and gratitude on wellbeing, analyses revealed a significant decrease in depression and negative affect from pretest to posttest in all groups. Future research should clarify whether practicing the character strengths of kindness and gratitude is effective for participants with an Asian-cultural background.
Copyright (c) 2020 Claudia Gherghel, Takeshi Hashimoto
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