Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology and Research

Major Professor

Ralph G. Brockett

Committee Members

Mary F. Ziegler, Gary J. Skolits, Marian W. Roman


The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between gratitude and readiness for self-directed learning among nursing students enrolled in a four-year baccalaureate nursing program. For this study a sample of 59 nursing students were selected from a four-year baccalaureate nursing program, situated in a private, faith-based college in the Southeast United States. During data collection, participants were asked to complete the Gratitude 6-item questionnaire [GQ-], the 40-item Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale for Nursing Education [SDLRS-NE], and two demographic questions (i.e., age and class rank). Using both parametric and nonparametric statistics, this study examined eight research questions, and from this exploration several findings did emerge. First, there is a small, but significant positive relationship between gratitude and readiness for self-directed learning (r = .359, p = .005; ρ = .358, p = .006), and at a closer examination other positive correlations were found between gratitude and desire-to-learn, and between gratitude and self-control. Second, a positive correlation was found between age and one’s desire-to-learn, indicating that as age increases so does one’s desire-to-learn. Third, among the three predictors for readiness for self-directed learning (i.e., age, class rank, and gratitude), gratitude was the strongest predictor for desire-to-learn, and for self-control.

Recommendations for future research include a replication of this study using a larger, more diverse sample. Conducting more qualitative research to determine what learning experiences nursing students are grateful for and how gratitude influences their readiness learning. As for the measurement of gratitude, there is a great opportunity for reexamining how gratitude is operationalized and measured. Finally, this study supports the notion that gratitude is an important resource for building the characteristics of readiness for self-directed learning.

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