Studying Subjective Well-Being during a Quarantine

How does a weekly gratitude letter affect daily mood states?


  • Samuel Browning Virginia Tech
  • E. Scott Geller Research Mentor



To investigate the impact of writing a gratitude letter on particular mood states, we asked students in two university classes (a research class and a positive psychology class) to complete a 15-item mood assessment survey (MAS) twice a day (once in the morning and once at night). The research students who signed up for one or two pass/fail field-study credits in a research class also completed the MAS twice a day, but they did not write the weekly gratitude letter that was expected from the students in the positive psychology class. Each mood state was averaged per each day for the participants in each group and compared between the Gratitude Group and the Control Group. No group difference occurred for some mood states like “incompetent,” but for the “unmotivated” mood state, a significant difference was found. To investigate the potential effect of weekday, we compared the average mood rating between groups for each day of the week. For the mood state of “unmotivated”, a remarkable dip occurred on Wednesday for the Gratitude group, but not for the Control group. These results indicated that writing a gratitude letter increased the benefactor’s motivation, especially on the day when it was accomplished.




How to Cite

Browning, S., & Geller, E. S. (2021). Studying Subjective Well-Being during a Quarantine: How does a weekly gratitude letter affect daily mood states?. Virginia Journal of Business, Technology, and Science, 1(1).