Graduation Year


Document Type

Ed. Specalist



Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Shannon Suldo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Linda Raffaele Mendez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Julia Ogg, Ph.D.


positive psychology, positive emotions, genetic influence, shared environment, wellness


Positive psychology encourages a focus on identifying and promoting wellness in individuals rather than analyzing psychopathology. Although decades of research shows that mental illness is in part environmental and hereditary, little is known about the relationship between parental levels of positive emotions such as gratitude, life satisfaction, and hope, and their children's levels of the same constructs. This study utilized a past, present, and future framework of positive emotions to explore parental and child levels of gratitude, life satisfaction, and hope. This quantitative study analyzed correlations between self-reported levels of gratitude, life satisfaction, and hope among a sample of 153 fourth and fifth grade students and their parents (143 female caregivers, 119 male caregivers). Findings include statistically significant relationships between (a) mother and child gratitude (but not father and child gratitude) and (b) child life satisfaction with both mothers' and fathers' life satisfaction. No relationships emerged between parental hope and child hope. The study has important implications for school psychologists, including sharing with caregivers' the relationships between parental positive emotions and their children' levels of wellness. Future research is needed to investigate the causes of the links identified in the current study, as well as to explore the relationship between parental and child hope.