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Caleon, Imelda S.
Cultivating kindness and positive social relationships are areas that have received little attention in the literature pertaining to academically at-risk youths. This study examines the effectiveness of a gratitude-based positive psychology intervention (PPI) on academically at-risk students’ gratitude, positive feelings (i.e., care) for others and relationships with significant others—parents, peers, classmates and teachers. In the study, 43 students attending a specialized secondary school were randomly assigned to either the experimental group or placebo-control group. The students in the experimental group participated in gratitude-based PPI, which consisted of two 30-minute sessions per week for eight weeks. The gratitude-based PPI was not able to generate significant improvements in students’ trait gratitude; however, it was able to generate significant changes in the students’ state gratitude. In particular, the experimental group reported a decline in negative affective reactions towards receiving assistance or favours, while the placebo-control group did not report a statistically significant change in relation to this aspect of state gratitude. For both groups, the change in positive affective reaction to receiving assistance or favours did not reach statistical significance. The gratitude-based PPI was found to produce promising, yet non-significant results, in relation to promoting social relationships and caring for others. The students in the experimental group who experienced the gratitude-based PPI reported a fair improvement in relatedness with peers; the students forming the placebo-control group who participated in their designated activities reported a decline in relationship with the same social partner. The effect sizes of the gratitude-based PPI and placebo-control activities were both positive in relation to the students’ relatedness with parents and teachers, but the effect size of the PPI was stronger in fostering relatedness with parents. The gratitude-based PPI produced a positive yet modest effect size in terms of enhancing caring for others and a negligible effect size in terms of reducing negative feelings towards others. Overall, this study provided preliminary empirical evidence that a gratitude-based PPI can generate positive, albeit, weak effects that can potentially seed positive social bonds and interactions for student at-risk of continued poor school outcomes in an Asian setting.
|Appears in Collections:||Master of Arts (Counselling & Guidance)|
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