Gratitude, or the Positive Side of the Relationship with Patients. Development and First Validation of New Instruments: A Scale of Gratitude Perceived by Operators and a Scale of Support Offered by the Gratitude Expressed by Their Patients


The relationship with patients/users is a crucial dimension for helping professionals. It is nevertheless mostly analyzed in its negative connotation, that’s to say as a possible cause, for example, of the burnout syndrome, while very few are research works that take into account the positive side of the relationship, as a resource more than a problem, and even fewer are the instruments to measure it. The aim of the present work is the development and the analysis of the characteristics of a scale to measure the gratitude expressed by patients perceived by operators and of a scale to measure the perception of support that gratitude by patients/customers offers to relieve the fatigue of daily commitment and return significance to their work. The two scales were developed and then integrated into a questionnaire including items regarding the negative side of the relationship (exceeding requests from patients) and the Customer-initiated support scale (Zimmermann et al., 2011). The questionnaire was filled in by 267 nurses in Piedmont, Italy. Descriptive analyses on each item, exploratory factor analysis, Cronbach’s alpha, analysis of variance, and bivariate correlations were conducted. Both scales show a one-factor solution. The independent sample t-tests highlighted differences between men and women and between people who have families to care for and people who do not. Bivariate correlations signalled a positive relationship between both the gratitude scales and the Customer-initiated support; no relationships are evident with the scale of exceeding request from patients. A limitation of the work is the dimension of the sample: a more extensive administration of the questionnaire is currently in progress that will also permit to more deeply investigate the factorial structure of the scales. The scales will allow filling a gap in measuring a central work issue for helping professions.

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Martini, M. & Converso, D. (2014). Gratitude, or the Positive Side of the Relationship with Patients. Development and First Validation of New Instruments: A Scale of Gratitude Perceived by Operators and a Scale of Support Offered by the Gratitude Expressed by Their Patients. Psychology, 5, 572-580. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.56067.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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