Being present and thankful: A multi-study investigation of mindfulness, gratitude, and employee helping behavior.

Katina B. Sawyer, Christian N. Thoroughgood, Elizabeth E. Stillwell, Michelle K. Duffy, Kristin L. Scott, Elizabeth A. Adair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gratitude plays an integral role in promoting helping behavior at work. Thus, cultivating employees’ experiences of gratitude represents an important imperative in modern organizations that rely on teamwork and collaboration to achieve organizational goals. Yet, today’s workplace presents a complex array of demands that make it difficult for employees to fully attend to and appreciate the various benefits they receive at work. As such, gratitude is difficult for employers to promote and for employees to experience. Despite these observations, the role of attention and awareness in facilitating employees’ feelings of gratitude is largely overlooked in the extant literature. In this study, we examined whether one notable form of present moment attention, mindfulness, may promote helping behavior by stimulating the positive, other-oriented emotion of gratitude. Across two experimental studies, a semiweekly, multisource diary study, and a 10-day experience sampling investigation, we found converging evidence for a serial mediation model in which state mindfulness, via positive affect and perspective taking, prompts greater levels of gratitude, prosocial motivation, and, in turn, helping behavior at work. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our investigation, as well as avenues for the future research. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Early online dateApr 12 2021
StatePublished - Apr 12 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Psychological Association


  • gratitude
  • mindfulness
  • organizational citizenship behavior
  • perspective taking
  • positive affect

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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