Evidence indicates that dispositional gratitude may improve romantic relationships by reinforcing positive emotions between partners and by increasing awareness of affective needs, such as receiving emotional support, nurturance, and reassurance. However, little research has investigated the influence of gratitude on relationships characterized by violence. In the present study, participants (N = 421) completed a cross-sectional survey of experiences with dating violence, dispositional gratitude, and affective need. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Among individuals with lower rates of dispositional gratitude, higher levels of affective need were associated with lower frequency of dating violence victimization. However, among individuals with higher rates of dispositional gratitude, there was no evidence to suggest an association between affective need and frequency of victimization. These preliminary findings compel further investigation of how positive processes impact the perceived qualities of negative romantic relationships.
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