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The influence of mindfulness and gratitude on the happiness of high school students: grit’s moderated mediation model

Introduction. The happiness index of children and adolescents in Korea is very low, ranking 20th out of 22 OECD countries. Further, Korean high school students, who are at a critical juncture in their careers, have lower levels of happiness. There is a need for research to promote happiness among this cohort. Therefore, this study aimed to suggest a plan to improve happiness by investigating whether gratitude mediates the influence of mindfulness on happiness and whether grit moderates this mediating effect.

Study participants and methods. The participants of this study were high school students, who are in the most critical period in terms of their career choice. Three cities and counties in Korea, and three high schools in each city and county, were selected through a random sampling method. Next, the high school students to be surveyed were selected using a purposive sampling method in consideration of gender, grade, etc. Ultimately, 435 questionnaires were used for the final analysis. The participants were evenly distributed along gender lines with 220 males (50.6%) and 215 females (49.4%). Of the sample, 376 people (86.6%) lived in small and medium-sized cities while 59 people (13.6%) lived in rural areas. Of the survey participants, 377 (86.7%) lived with both parents and 58 (13.3%) lived with single parents or grandparents. Data were analyzed using SPSS PC+ Win. Ver. 25.0 and SPSS PROCESS macro Ver. 3.5. The statistical methods used were frequency analysis, reliability analysis, correlation analysis, and a moderated mediation effect analysis.

Results. First, according to the correlation analysis, mindfulness was positively correlated with grit (r=.368, p<.01), gratitude (r=.188, p<.01), and happiness (r=.452, p<.01). Gratitude and happiness had the highest correlation coefficient (r=.494, p<.01), followed by mindfulness and happiness (r=.452, p<.01).
Second, the moderated mediation effect of grit was analyzed. In the effect of mindfulness on happiness through gratitude, the conditional indirect effect of grit was significant, based on the fact that there was no ‘0’ in the upper and lower limits of the bootstrap when the value of grit was high (M+SD) (.6210, .0777~.2512). Therefore, the moderated mediation effect of grit was verified. Grit played a moderating role in increasing the influence of mindfulness on happiness via gratitude only when grit was high.

Practical significance. The results of this study can inform the development of programs and projects to promote happiness by applying mindfulness, gratitude, and grit to children and adolescents. It will also help contribute to the development of research methods through the integrated use of mediation and moderation variables.

Keywords: mindfulness, gratitude, grit, happiness, moderated mediation model

For Reference: Lee, Ch. S. (2021). The influence of mindfulness and gratitude on the happiness of high school students: grit’s moderated mediation model. Perspektivy nauki i obrazovania – Perspectives of Science and Education, 52 (4), 358-369. doi: 10.32744/pse.2021.4.23

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Information about the author:

Chang Seek Lee (Seosan city, South Korea) - Professor, Doctor of Philosophy, Chairman. Department of Health, Counseling and Welfare. E-mail: lee1246@hanmail.net. ORCID ID: 0000-0002-9222-0953


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