A digital version of a positive psychology intervention called “Three Good Things” (3GT) was tested by researchers to assess whether gratitude practices improve well-being among health care workers. The study included 223 participants from a single large university medical school who were randomly assigned to either immediate or delayed intervention control groups. Text messages were sent to participants three times a week, prompting them to document three things they were grateful for.
At the beginning of the study and one and three months after the intervention, participants completed surveys that measured their levels of depression, positive emotions, gratitude, and life satisfaction. Participants in the control group completed additional measures at 4 and 6 months after completing the delayed intervention. The effects of department role, gender, age, and time on outcomes were explored, and linear mixed models were used to compare intervention and control groups.
The results showed that the intervention and control groups did not show significant differences in depression, gratitude, or life satisfaction scores at 0, 1, or 3 months. However, scores in the intervention group were better immediately after the intervention for depression and gratitude, but these improvements were not critical and lost by 3 months. The positive affect scales differed significantly between groups over time, especially in the first month, where the intervention group’s score increased by more than 2 points.
Self-reported mental and physical health assessments did not differ between the intervention and control groups. The study concluded that individualized interventions such as the gratitude intervention ‘Three Good Things’ (3GT) may help reduce the emotional burden and improve the well-being of health care workers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated emotional distress and burnout among healthcare professionals. Limited studies of high-quality interventions have been conducted to address this issue. In this study, the 3GT intervention showed initial improvement in participants’ well-being shortly after the intervention began, but maintaining long-term well-being proved difficult. The study suggests that interventions tailored to individuals may be helpful for healthcare professionals.