Psychology, Department of


Does Gratitude Promote Resilience During a Pandemic? An Examination of Mental Health and Positivity at the Onset of COVID‑19


Shaina A. Kumar

Date of this Version



Journal of Happiness Studies 2022


PMCID: PMC9281297


© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. 2022

Free access at PubMed Central


Researchers have emphasized the detrimental effects of COVID-19 on mental health, but less attention has been given to personal strengths promoting resilience during the pandemic. One strength might be gratitude, which supports wellbeing amidst adversity. A twowave examination of 201 college students revealed anxiety symptom severity increased to a lesser extent from pre-COVID (January–March 2020) to onset-COVID (April 2020) among those who reported greater pre-COVID gratitude. A similar trend appeared for depression symptom severity. Gratitude was also correlated with less negative changes in outlook, greater positive changes in outlook, and endorsement of positive experiences resulting from COVID-19. Thematic analysis showed “strengthened interpersonal connections” and “more time” were the most commonly reported positive experiences. Overall findings suggest gratitude lessened mental health difficulties and fostered positivity at the onset of the pandemic, but more research is needed to determine whether gratitude and other strengths promote resilience as COVID-19 continues.