Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Nathaniel G. Wade


Forgiveness is considered a positive way to respond to an offense. Recently, researchers have suggested that a number of factors may be related to one's ability and desire to forgive. Specifically, the religious commitment of the offended individual has been proposed as a potentially influential variable in the forgiveness process; however, few studies have examined this connection. In study 1, to understand beliefs and values that may encourage forgiveness in different religious traditions, religious participants who had experienced an offense committed against them were interviewed about factors that motivated them to forgive and strategies they used to reach forgiveness. Results indicated that while many strategies used to forgive were congruent with forgiveness techniques promoted in prior research, participants also reported developing original strategies to achieve forgiveness. In addition, study 2 explored how religious commitment may be associated with forgiveness extended to an offender after participation in an intervention designed explicitly to promote forgiveness. Results suggested that there was no difference in the change in forgiveness-related outcomes for people of high versus moderate to low religious commitment. Trait forgivingness was also examined as a potential mediator of the relationship between religious commitment and forgiveness. Results indicated that trait forgivingness fully mediated the relationship between religious commitment and revenge, but not the relationship between religious commitment and empathy or avoidance.


Copyright Owner

Julia E.M. Kidwell



Date Available


File Format


File Size

145 pages

Included in

Psychology Commons