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Study Shows Women Are Happier, More Grateful Than Men

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Todd Kashdan, associate professor of psychology at George Mason University says that gratitude is one of the best ways to remain happy and healthy. Kashdan also finds that women are more successful than men when it comes to feeling grateful. The result is greater happiness when compared to men.

Kashdan conducted a series of studies showing that feelings of gratitude, positive relationships, and living in the moment are essential for well-being. His current study, published n the Journal of Personality, shows that men are less expressive than women when comes to feeling and expressing gratitude.

According to Kashdan, “Previous studies on gratitude have suggested that there might be a difference in gender, and so we wanted to explore this further—and find out why. Even if it is a small effect, it could make a huge difference in the long run.”

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Interviews conducted with college age students showed that women felt more grateful when given gifts, compared to men. Men felt a sense of obligation rather than feeling grateful when presented with gifts. Older men had negative responses to gifts presented by other men. The results show that men may be limiting their ability to feel happy. Kashdan explains, “Because men are generally taught to control and conceal their softer emotions, this may be limiting their well-being.”

Openness and curiosity are essential for a happier existence. Kashdan, author of the book Curious?, is interested in promoting well-being. His book outlines how we can all feel more positive. Curious? is due for release April 2009.

Kashdan teaches the science of happiness to others. He has been involved in helping his students experience more meaning and greater happiness in life since 2000.

Kashdan’s newest study shows that women are happier than men because they are more grateful. Gender differences related to early socialization skills may be holding men back from feeling more grateful and in turn happier. Thankfulness and joy are essential for living a good life says Kashdan.