Psychology of forgiveness research papers

Furthermore, the researchers thought of ways to further help married couples in the future and suggested that they should explore the following:. Relationships are at the sentiment aspect of our lives; with our families at home and friends outside. Relationships interact in schools and universities, with work mates and, with colleagues at the workplace and in our diverse communities.

In the article it states, the quality of these relationships determines our individual well-being, how well we learn, develop and function, our sense of connectedness with others and the health so society. What they came up with was most salient characteristics shared by students who were very content and showed positive life styles were the ones who "their strong ties to friends and family and commitment to spending time with them.

A study done in , identified as a key study that taken part and examined two natures of relationships friends and family and at what age does the support switch importance from one to the other. What the study showed that people whom had good family relationship, they were able to carry out more positive outside relationships with friends.

Through the family relationship and friendships the character of the individual was built to forgive and learn from the experience in the family. It just goes to show that to have a good base at the start of a young age, will train the person to have good better well-being with outside interactions. In , Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet asked people to think about someone who had hurt, wronged, or offended them. As they thought to answer, she observed their reaction.

She observed their blood pressure, heart rate, facial muscle tension, and sweat gland activity. To deliberate on an old misdemeanor is to practice unforgiveness. Pondering about their resents was stressful, and subjects found the rumination unpleasant. When they adept forgiveness, their physical stimulation glided downward. They showed no more of an anxiety reaction than normal wakefulness produces.

In , study on self-forgiveness with spouse forgiveness has a better outcome to a healthier life by Pelucchi, Paleari, Regalia and Fincham. This study investigates self-forgiveness for real hurts committed against the partner in a romantic relationship couples. For both males and females, the mistaken partners were more content with their romantic relationship to the extent that they had more positive and less negative sentiment and thoughts toward themselves.

In the study when looking at the victimized partners were more gratified with the relationship when the offending partner had less negative sentiment and thoughts towards themselves. It concludes that self-forgiveness when in a relationship has positive impact on both the offending and victimized partner. Both negative and positive affect play a role in forgiveness interventions. It is the general consensus across researchers in the field of psychology , that the overarching purpose of forgiveness interventions is to decrease overall negative affect associated with the stimulus and increase the individual's positive affect.

The disease model has been mainly used in regards to therapy , however the incorporation of forgiveness into therapy has been lacking, [78] and has been slowly gaining popularity in the last couple of decades. There are various forms of forgiveness interventions. The end goal for this adaptation is getting the individual to perhaps understand the reasoning behind the offender's actions.

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There is, however, conflicting evidence on the effectiveness of forgiveness interventions. Although research has taken into account the positive aspects of forgiveness interventions, there are also negative aspects that have been explored as well. Some researchers have taken a critical approach and have been less accepting of the forgiveness intervention approach to therapy. Critics have argued that forgiveness interventions may actually cause an increase in negative affect because it is trying to inhibit the individual's own personal feelings towards the offender.

This can result in the individual feeling negatively towards themself. It might inadvertently promote feelings of shame and contrition within the individual. Some researchers also worry that forgiveness interventions will promote unhealthy relationships. A number of studies showcase high effectiveness rates of forgiveness interventions when done continuously over a long period of time.

There has been some research within the last decade outlining some studies that have looked at the effectiveness of forgiveness interventions on young children. There have also been several studies done studying this cross culturally. In this study, Hui and Chau looked at the relationship between forgiveness interventions and Chinese children who were less likely to forgive those who had wronged them. It is suggested that mindfulness plays a role in forgiveness and health. A study from states that self-forgiveness is an important part of self-acceptance and mental health in later life.

A study in looks at how self-forgiveness can reduce feelings of guilt and shame associated with hypersexual behaviour.

REACH Forgiveness — Everett Worthington

Evidence shows that self-forgiveness and procrastination may be associated; self-forgiveness allows the individual to overcome the negatives associated with an earlier behaviour and engage in approach-oriented behaviours on a similar task. The correlation between forgiveness and physical health is a concept that has recently gained traction in research. Some studies claim that there is no correlation, either positive or negative between forgiveness and physical health, and others show a positive correlation. Individuals with forgiveness as a personality trait have been shown to have overall better physical health.

In a study on relationships , regardless if someone was in a negative or positive relationship , their physical health seemed to be influenced at least partially by their level of forgiveness. Individuals who make a decision to genuinely forgive someone are also shown to have better physical health. This is due to the relationship between forgiveness and stress reduction. Forgiveness is seen as preventing poor physical health and managing good physical health. Specifically individuals who choose to forgive another after a transgression have lower blood pressure and lower cortisol levels than those who do not.

A Function of Forgiveness: Exploring the Relationship Between Negative Mood and Forgiving

This is theorized to be due to various direct and indirect influences of forgiveness, which point to forgiveness as an evolutionary trait. See Broaden and Build Theory. Direct influences include: Reducing hostility which is inversely correlated with physical health , and the concept that unforgiveness may reduce the immune system because it puts stress on the individual. Indirect influences are more related to forgiveness as a personality trait and include: forgiving people may have more social support and less stressful marriages, and forgiveness may be related to personality traits that are correlated with physical health.

Forgiveness may also be correlated with physical health because hostility is associated with poor coronary performance. Unforgiveness is as an act of hostility, and forgiveness as an act of letting go of hostility. Heart patients who are treated with therapy that includes forgiveness to reduce hostility have improved cardiac health compared to those who are treated with medicine alone.

Can You Learn to Be More Forgiving?

Forgiveness may also lead to better perceived physical health. This correlation applies to both self-forgiveness and other-forgiveness but is especially true of self-forgiveness. Individuals who are more capable of forgiving themselves have better perceived physical health. Forgiveness studies have been refuted by critics who claim that there is no direct correlation between forgiveness and physical health.

Forgiveness, due to the reduction of directed anger, contributes to mental health and mental health contributes to physical health, but there is no evidence that forgiveness directly improves physical health. Most of the studies on forgiveness cannot isolate it as an independent variable in an individual's well-being, so it is difficult to prove causation.

This relates more to physiological measures and what happens to a body during the stages of forgiveness in their daily life. Additionally, research into the correlation between physical health and forgiveness has been criticized for being too focused on unforgiveness. Research shows more about what hostility and unforgiveness contribute to poor health than it shows what forgiveness contributes to physical health.


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Expression of anger has been strongly associated with chronically elevated blood pressure and with the aggregation of platelets, which may increase vulnerability for heart disease. Self-forgiveness happens in situations where an individual has done something that they perceive to be morally wrong and they consider themselves to be responsible for the wrongdoing. Major life events that include trauma can cause individuals to experience feelings of guilt or self-hatred. Individuals can unintentionally cause harm or offence to one another in everyday life.

It is important for individuals to be able to recognize when this happens, and in the process of making amends, have the ability to self-forgive. The model that has been proposed has four key elements. These elements include responsibility , remorse , restoration and renewal. Despite the suggested model, research advises that the process of self-forgiveness is not always applicable for every individual.

The Psychology of Forgiveness

However, this would not be the process necessary for them to make their amends. Being unapologetic is often something that humans come across at some point in their lives, and there has been much research on if a person refuses to apologize or even recognized the wrongdoings. This can then often lead into how one would go into forgiving the unapologetic party and "the relationship between apologies and the adjectives 'apologetic' and 'unapologetic' is not quite so straightforward. Jean Hampton sees the decision to forgive the unrepentant wrongdoer as expressing a commitment "to see a wrongdoer in a new, more favorable light" as one who is not completely rotten or morally dead.