Date of Award
Master of Science
Throughout the last decade, forgiveness research has become an increasingly popular area of study within the field of psychology. Research on interventions to explicitly promote forgiveness is one particularly productive area of investigation. However, a great inconsistency exists in the findings of current forgiveness intervention studies. Some studies have shown forgiveness interventions to be more effective than alternative treatment groups. In contrast, other studies have found no significant differences in the promotion of forgiveness across various forms of treatment. The question remains: are specific forgiveness interventions needed or is any treatment that contains curative factors adequate for the promotion of forgiveness? The primary aim of the present study was to compare the efficacy of two interventions, an explicit forgiveness intervention and a general counseling condition. Thirty people from the community participated in a randomized clinical trial. Forgiveness was measured as the reduction of rumination, revenge, and avoidance and the increase of empathy participants reported regarding their specific offender. Psychological symptoms of hostility, interpersonal sensitivity, anxiety, and depression were also assessed. Results indicated that participants in the forgiveness condition experienced a significant decline in rumination from pre to post test, whereas individuals in the general counseling and waitlist conditions did not. However, participants in both interventions reported significantly more reduction in the desire to seek revenge and avoid an offender than did participants in the waitlist condition. Empathy did not change significantly across time. As for psychological symptoms, interpersonal sensitivity and depression were significantly reduced in the treatment and alternative condition. Hostility and anxiety did not change significantly across time for participants. The control condition did not report any significant changes on either forgiveness or psychological variables. Overall, both treatment groups effectively reduced desires for revenge and avoidance, as well as symptoms of depression and interpersonal sensitivity. Findings suggest that common curative factors present in both conditions contributed to the promotion of certain forgiveness and psychological variables.
Julia Erin Meyer
Meyer, Julia Erin, "Comparing a forgiveness intervention and a psychotherapy condition: the influence of common curative factors on forgiveness and mental health" (2006). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 19344.