In this era of competition, technology, forwardness, and modernization, the struggle to stay at the first place is increasing. Every individual wants to dominate the other person and wants to achieve so much in little time, without much of the hard work. This race of life has left people impatient, materialistic and a feeling of worthlessness. Having little self-regard can lead people to become more stressed, depressed, to fall short of their potential and less tolerant in certain situations and relationships.
“The relationship of one individual with others is self-esteem”. (Sam, Sam & Öngen (2010). Self esteem is basically how a person comprehends, perceives, accept and reject himself as a person to be fit in the society as well as what he thinks about himself. Studies say that if an individual has a positive attitude towards himself and self-evaluation, his self-esteem will be high; On the contrary, a person having a negative attitude towards him and others has lower self esteem. Those individuals who value and consider themselves as a respectable and valuable member of the society, prove to have a high self esteem, as compared to the people who don’t consider themselves as a useful member of the society and thus have low self esteem. (Rosenberg 1965; Fennell 1997) “Self-esteem is the disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness. It is confidence in the efficacy of our mind, in our ability to think. By extension, it is confidence in our ability to learn, make appropriate choices and decisions, and respond effectively to change”. (Simon ; Schuster 1997).
A study was done on Contact Disturbances, Self-Esteem and Life Satisfaction of University Students by Özlem TAGAY. The final finding of the study was a significant positive correlation between self esteem and life satisfaction. There are some more studies conducted on Life satisfaction and Self esteem. Dilmaç ; Ek?i (2008) and Rey, Extremera ; Pera (2011) all stated a significant positive correlation between self-esteem and life satisfaction in their studies.
“Life satisfaction is among the subjects of psychology that focuses on the positive attributes of human nature”. Diener ; Diener (1995) suggests that life satisfaction emphasizes the cognitive aspect of subjective well-being as a concept concerning the happiness of individuals. The term life satisfaction deals with life in general and not your satisfaction in certain situations (Wilson ; Peterson, 1988). The indicator of life satisfaction is to achieve well being which is closely linked with physical and mental health (Melendez et al., 2009). Numerous studies suggest that with an increase in gratitude through interventions, individuals’ life satisfaction also tended to increase (e.g., Emmons and McCullough 2003; (Froh et al. 2008). This study also supports the theory that gratitude has a significant effect on life satisfaction in accordance with other studies (Bono, Emmons, & McCullough, 2004; Emmons & Crumpler, 2000; Emmons & McCullough, 2003; Froh et al., 2009; Kashdan, Uswatte, & Julian, 2006; Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005; Watkins, 2004; Watkins, Woodward, Stone, Kolts, 2003; Wood, Joseph, & Linley, 2007b; Wood, Maltby, Gillett, Linley, & Jospeh, 2008)
“Gratitude could refer to a subjective feeling of wonder and appreciation for life” (Emmons & Shelton, 2002). Gratitude is basically personality strength as well as to be aware of the good things that happen to you and to not take them as granted, even appreciating the little good things in life. A person having a high level of gratitude has a sense of positivity, thankfulness, appreciation for life and for future. They show their gratitude towards others in the form of politeness, regards and appreciation. (Emmons, R.A and McCullough, M.E. 2003). A person who shows more gratitude feels more happy and healthy and less lonely, depressed and frustrated. Moreover, Seligman defined it as “A sense of thankfulness and joy in response to receiving a gift, whether the gift is a tangible benefit from a specific other or a moment of peaceful bliss evoked by natural beauty” (Seligman, 2002). Numerous empirical studies have shown that grateful people have a propensity to have higher levels of self-esteem (Li et al. 2012; Kashdan et al. 2006; Strelan 2007). Moreover, self-esteem theoretically (e.g., Hermans 1992; Mack 1983) and empirically (e.g., Kong and You 2013; Kong et al. 2012b; Sedikides et al. 2004) contributes to life satisfaction. Thus, gratitude is likely to be associated with higher levels of life satisfaction by a greater sense of self-esteem.
The importance of self-esteem is underscored by decades of theory development and research supporting its link with a range of positive outcomes including psychological health and well-being during adolescence (Gilman, R., & Huebner, S. (2006). Conversely, low self-esteem has been related to symptoms of depression and anxiety Moksnes, U. K., & Espnes, G. A. (2012). Individuals with high self-esteem are assumed to show more positive coping and better adjustment in relation to adverse life events, which may further promote health and well-being. Life satisfaction is a key part of the subjective well being. On the other hand, gratitude makes us appreciate the value of something, and when we appreciate the value of something, we extract more benefits from it; we’re less likely to take it for granted.
In short, the current research aims to find the relationship between self esteem, life satisfaction and gratitude among university students. Based on previous researches and studies we propose following hypothesis: (1) Self-esteem is significantly associated with life satisfaction, where a positive correlation will be found. (2) A positive relationship will be found between Life satisfaction and Gratitude. (3) Gratitude and self esteem will show a positive relationship.
A total of 104 Pakistani university students participated in this study (most of them from Karachi University’s Psychology department). The sample included a larger number of female students as compared to male students.
The present study was held in two phases. Firstly, the research questionnaires were distributed in a group of 52 students, and each of the students belongs to Karachi University Psychology Department. Each of the participants was well informed regarding the purpose of the study. The researcher informed them about the research work and, at the same time assured them of the confidentiality and secrecy of their response as it was not necessary to write the name on the questionnaire.
A multi-section questionnaire was administered to the participants in a quiet classroom environment regarding their life satisfaction, self esteem and gratitude in a group setting. Each section consists of 5 questions. All participants returned their filled questionnaire for further data analysis.
Secondly, the same research participants than acted as research assistors and individually administered the questionnaire in different departments of Karachi University.
A scale is a type of composite measure that is composed of several items that have a logical or empirical structure among them. That is, scales make use of differences in intensity among the indicators of a variable. Self esteem was measured by Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (RSES, Rosenberg 1965). The scale can be used to assess global self-esteem and it is one of the most widely used self-esteem tests among psychologists and sociologists. The scale is a ten-item self-report scale with Likert-type response format and each of the ten items has four possible responses: Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree. RSE is found to be a reliable Cronbach’s alpha coef?cient .86 ( Moksnes, U. K., Moljord, I. E. O., Espnes, G. A., ; Byrne, D. G. (2010). 430–435). The scale has been used in Norwegian studies, with Cronbach’s alpha coef?cient varying from .80 to .88 (Moksnes, U. K., Moljord, I. E. O., Espnes, G. A., & Byrne, D. G. (2010) 430–435.
Life satisfaction Scale (SWLS) developed by Diener, Emmons, Larsen and Griffin (1985). This scale contains five items which evaluate the cognitive judgments of an individual´s own life. Items are rated on a 5point Likert- type scale (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree; sample item, ”I am satisfied with my life”). The possible range of scores is 5-35, with a score of 20 representing a neutral point on the scale. Scores between 5-9 indicate the respondent is extremely dissatisfied with life, whereas scores between 31-35 indicate the respondent is extremely satisfied. Diener et al. (1985). The internal consistency assessed by Cronbach’s alpha has been found to exceed values of .80 Pavot, W., ; Diener, E. (2008). 137–152).
Gratitude was measured by Gratitude Questionnaire (GQ-6) prepared by McCullough et al. (2002). This instrument measures gratitude as a dispositional trait and assesses four of its facets: intensity, frequency, density, and span of gratitude felt and shared. GQ-6 is a 7-point Likert scale, ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7(strongly agree). The reliability of Cronbach’s alpha coef?cient for the GQ-6 was .71 (Feng Kong, Jingjing Zao, Ke Ding Article in Journal of Happiness Studies • April 2015)
The statistical analysis for social sciences (SPSS-Version 17) was used to compute the person product moment correlation for calculating the correlation among Self esteem, Life satisfaction and Gratitude of the present study. Cronbach’s ? was computed to estimate the internal consistency of all employed instruments.
The result of the present study shows that there is a positive correlation between Self Esteem, Life Satisfaction and Gratitude.
Self Esteem Life Satisfaction Gratitude
Self Esteem _ _ _ 0.356** 0.280**
Life Satisfaction _ _ _ _ _ _ 0.360**
Gratitude _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
*the correlation is significant at the ?=0.01 level (2 tailed)
If self esteem increases than life satisfaction also increase. If life satisfaction increases than the gratitude will also increase and if self esteem increases gratitude increases.
The present study aimed at testing the relationship of self-esteem in the association between gratitude and life satisfaction among University students. One of the studies says that emerging adults with higher levels of gratitude had a propensity to perceive greater social support from others, which may contribute to an increase in their life satisfaction. Wood et al. (2008). The current study supported the idea that self esteem, life satisfaction and gratitude has a positive relationship between them. One thing that might help to illustrate this result is the signi?cant path of gratitude? self-esteem? life satisfaction. This path tells us that people who are grateful towards their life and others are more likely to gain social support from other people, automatically enhances their self esteem and result in a more satisfactory life. Similarly, those individuals, who complain all the time, tend to have lower self esteem, resulting in dissatisfaction with life. (F. Kong et al. 2015, 11-12). This may lead to more vulnerability for negative health outcomes and lower life satisfaction (Moksnes, U. K., ; Espnes, G. A. (2012) 483–489). Numerous studies have shown that grateful people are likely to perceive greater social support from others (e.g., Wood et al. 2008); those who perceive more social support tend to have higher levels of self-esteem and are more satisfied with life (Kong and You 2013; Kong et al. 2012a, b).
One of the researches done by ( Feng Kong, Jingjing Zao, Ke Ding Article in Journal of Happiness Studies • April 2015 on The relationship among Gratitude, self Esteem, social Support And Life Satisfaction Among Undergraduate students also shows a significantly positive relation among Self Esteem, Life satisfaction and Gratitude.
The result of the present study supported our first hypothesis which says that there is a significant relationship between Self esteem and life satisfaction (as shown in table) R=0.356. Students, who possess higher self esteem, tend to be more satisfied with their lives and handle difficult situations with ease. In line with second hypothesis, there was a strong and positive relation between Life satisfaction and gratitude, as students who were satisfied with their lives are more grateful not only towards life but also towards the little things they were blessed with. Numerous studies suggest that with an increase in gratitude through interventions, individuals’ life satisfaction also tended to increase (e.g., Emmons and McCullough 2003; Froh et al. 2008). Similarly, in the third hypothesis, there is a positive relation between gratitude and self esteem, as higher self esteem results in higher gratitude. Numerous empirical studies have shown that grateful people have a propensity to have higher levels of self-esteem (Li et al. 2012; Kashdan et al. 2006; Strelan 2007). According to Fredrickson’s (2001) ”broaden and build” model of positive emotions; positive emotions broaden people’s momentary repertoires of cognition and behavior, and build their enduring personal resources. Thus, gratitude enhances their levels of self esteem.
It is recommended that gender differences could be studied to understand if gender has an impact on Self esteem, life satisfaction and gratitude. As well as it is recommended that the study could have been done on school going kids as well, as low self esteem and not getting satisfied with life is a major issue in school kids. It is also recommended that the study could have been done on the people of different cultures and sects, to know if it has an impact on life satisfaction, self esteem and gratitude among individuals. Another recommendation is that this sample was drawn from a university population, which limits the extent to which these ?ndings can be generalized.
The present study supports a positive relationship between, Self Esteem, Life satisfaction and Gratitude. It supports the previous researches that an individual with high self esteem lead towards satisfaction with life, similarly a person who is satisfied with his life shows gratitude and humbleness towards others. As lower self esteem, dissatisfaction with life, and Ungratefulness gives rise to different disorders such as anxiety, depression etc. The cultivation of gratitude may work as a preventive therapy to help individuals increase their well-being in the future, as well as appreciating little things in life can result in satisfaction with life which can significantly help in a higher self esteem.