Background: Positive psychology interventions, and in particular gratitude,
have increasingly been shown to enhance health and wellbeing. This study
examined the effectiveness of a gratitude intervention on psychological
wellbeing during pregnancy.
Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Participants: 72 women between 14 and 32 weeks pregnant from Cork
University Maternity Hospital were randomised to the intervention (N=37) and
control group (N=35).
Intervention: A daily diary kept over one month, in which
participants were asked to list up to 5 things they felt grateful for.
measures: Outcome measures included the Prenatal
Distress Questionnaire (PDQ), the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social
Support (MSPSS), the Gratitude Scale (GQ-6), and exercise levels. These
measures were conducted at baseline, at 2 weeks and 1 month.
Results: A total of 14 participants concluded the study. The
results of mixed between-within analyses of variance demonstrated moderate to
large effect sizes for the effect of the intervention on gratitude, social
support, prenatal distress and exercise. Due to the small sample size at
completion, the study may have lacked sufficient power to detect a significant
Conclusions: Potential explanations for the study findings include
recruitment and adherence issues, sample characteristics and constraints of the
measures used. We discuss the applied implications and directions for future
research that arise from these findings.