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Gratitude and Related Character Virtues

Project Overview

The Gratitude and Related Character Virtues project extends the Centre’s An Attitude for Gratitude project, by examining how gratitude relates to four other virtues: generosity, compassion, forgiveness and humility.

The practical legacy of this research will be a reinvigorated focus on character and virtues development in schools, with particular reference to promoting the allocentric (other-focused) virtues of compassion and gratitude. The intervention will bequeath concrete materials in the form of teacher handbooks and lesson plans that can be used by schools wishing to cultivate these virtues in the classroom.

Read Dr. Liz Gulliford's Virtue Insight blog post 'The Ripple Effects of Classroom Compassion and Gratitude'.


This interdisciplinary project combines a philosophical, conceptual analysis of the relations between five virtues, with an empirical examination of two virtues; gratitude and compassion. The empirical component of the research involves a school intervention study, specifically designed for Years 7 and 8 (young people aged 11 – 13 years).

Literature Review & Findings

A number of empirical studies have shown reciprocal relationships between the five virtues listed above. Some studies suggest these virtues are mutually reinforcing and that promoting one of these virtues may indirectly aid the cultivation of others. To date there has been no empirical examination of whether a compassion-based intervention would promote gratitude (as a side-effect) and vice versa. The empirical school-based intervention study proposed here speaks to that gap in the literature.

Read about 'How journaling, meditation and a spaceman can inspire pupils’ compassion and gratitude'.