Understanding the Effects of Goal Sanctification and Prayer on the Virtues of Gratitude, Generosity, and Thrift

Project Leader: Dr. Sarah Schnitker
Project Dates: 2011–present
Student Researchers: Abigail Shepherd, Tyler Greenway, Paul Reppas, Kelsey Richardson

Project Description: Several studies are examining how prayer and/or sanctification of activities and goals affect the development of three virtues: gratitude, generosity, and thrift.

One study examines how praying one’s thanks versus thinking about or sharing thanks influences the well-being effects of gratitude practice. Kelsy Richardson and Dr. Sarah Schnitker have analyzed data from 196 college undergraduates. They found that participants in the prayer condition experienced a decrease in negative affect, and participants in the prayer condition who also exerted high effort demonstrated gains in gratitude, positive affect, and hope. The researchers are currently submitting findings from this study for publications.

In another study, Paul Reppas and Sarah Schnitker examined the various factors of the virtue of thrift, including sanctification of resources. They also conducted a second study modeling the relations between thrift and the virtues of gratitude and generosity, in particular, how gratitude and thrift promote generosity as assessed by actual financial donations of participant payment.  The researchers are currently preparing these findings for publication.