NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Back to results
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1181519
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Jul
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0165-0254
The Role of Gratitude and Moral Elevation in Moral Identity Development
Pohling, Rico; Diessner, Rhett; Strobel, Anja
International Journal of Behavioral Development, v42 n4 p405-415 Jul 2018
Experiencing the moral emotions of gratitude and moral elevation are responses to witnessing virtuous deeds of others. Both emotions have been found to share similar features and behavioral consequences, including the stimulation of personal development. The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions indicates that gratitude and elevation prompt the long-term development of lasting resources. Moral identity has been found to be a personal resource in the moral domain since it is associated with higher levels of moral functioning. Therefore, using a two-wave cross-lagged panel design, the current study investigated the causal role of trait gratitude and trait elevation as antecedents of short-term moral identity development. At two points of time (time interval 17 months), a heterogeneous sample of n = 129 adults with a broad range of age completed measures of trait gratitude, trait moral elevation (engagement with moral beauty), and moral identity (internalization and symbolization of the Aquino-Reed framework). In line with our hypotheses, trait moral elevation predicted increases in moral identity internalization. In contrast to our hypotheses, the development of trait gratitude was predicted by moral identity internalization, and not the other way around. Exploratory analyses showed that no cross-lagged effects could be found for the symbolization dimension. In addition, a multi-group analysis explored which of the cross-lagged effects could be generalized across age groups. The results are discussed in the context of the moral emotion research.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany