Date of Award

Fall 12-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services


Counselor Education and Supervision

Committee Director

Kristy Carlisle

Committee Member

Robert Carlisle

Committee Member

Christopher Sink


The demand for therapeutic services and effective counseling interventions aimed at rehabilitating veterans has increased exponentially over the past thirty years. Veterans with PTSD symptoms experience several problems including, relationship issues, lower life satisfaction, suicidal ideation, isolation, and comorbid diagnoses. Current research on veterans diagnosed with PTSD suggests integrating wellness and strength-based approaches aimed at developing positive psychology characteristics into clinical services for veterans. Gratitude is a core construct in positive psychology and has been practiced in cultures all over the world. Gratitude journal interventions have been proven to increase well-being, positive affect, social relationships, optimism, life satisfaction, and lower negative affect and depressive symptoms. However, the literature on gratitude journal interventions provides inconsistent research designs conducted on limited populations. This study addressed the gap in literature on positive psychology gratitude journaling and its applications in assisting the numerous veterans in need of effective therapeutic services. Using a quasi-experimental two-period crossover design the study posed the following question: Does a positive psychology gratitude journal intervention improve veterans’ psychological well-being, gratitude, and PTSD symptoms over time? Findings suggested that a gratitude journal intervention improved veterans’ gratitude over time, and time of the gratitude exercise had positive effects on psychological well-being.