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Evidence for vicarious hope and vicarious gratitude

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hope, gratitude, vicarious hope, vicarious gratitude, empathy, self-construal

Abstract (summary)

Theorists posit that well-being reflects an optimal balance of self- and other-interest. An index of other-interest may be the degree to which hope and gratitude concern others (termed vicarious hope and vicarious gratitude) in addition to concerning the self. We examined the frequency of vicarious responses generated by participants (N = 350) invited to list ten things for which they were hopeful or grateful. Results showed that, on average, about 13 % of participants’ responses were other-oriented, that such responses were more likely to occur in the hope than in the gratitude condition, and that they were more likely to occur in conditions where task instructions primed inclusion of others. The generation of vicarious responses correlated with the trait of empathic concern. Implications of these findings for future work on vicarious hope and vicarious gratitude are discussed.

Publication Information

Howell, A. J., Bailie, T., and Buro, K. (2015). Evidence for vicarious hope and vicarious gratitude. Journal of Happiness Studies, 16, 687-704.


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