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A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Date:4/11/2010

Expressing gratitude benefits both you and the person being thanked, study finds

SUNDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- For those feeling dissatisfied with a friend or partner, saying "thank you" may improve your attitude about the relationship, new study findings suggest.

It turns out that expressed gratitude isn't just good for the recipient. It strengthens the relationship by causing the person expressing thanks to feel more responsible for their partner's welfare.

While previous research on gratitude has found that expressions of thanks strengthen a relationship by increasing satisfaction with it, the new research, published online recently in Psychological Science, looked at the effect of expressed gratitude on what psychologists call "communal strength" -- the degree of responsibility one partner or friend feels for another.

Gratitude, when expressed, boosted that communal strength, according to the study's lead author, Nathaniel Lambert, a research associate at Florida State University in Tallahassee. The finding makes sense because "when you express gratitude to someone, you are focusing on the good things that person has done for you," he said. "It makes you see them in a more positive light and helps you to focus in on their good traits."

Lambert and his research team tested the idea that expressing gratitude helps strengthen relationships in this way by doing three different studies.

In one study group, 137 college students completed a survey regarding how often they expressed gratitude to a friend or partner. Results showed that gratitude was positively linked with the person's perception of this "communal" strength.

In another study, involving 218 college students, expressing gratitude predicted boosts in the expresser's perception of the relationship's strength over time.

In a third study group, 75 men and women were randomly assigned to one of four groups
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