Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology


Department of Psychology


This study examined the relationship between forgiveness and mental health. Additionally, the study compared two monotheistic religions (i.e. Judaism, Christianity) with respect to the practice and conceptualization of forgiveness. Participants from the Jewish and Christian religions were recruited from several Midwestern churches and synagogues. Participants answered self-report questionnaires concerning religiousness, forgiveness, and mental health (e.g. anger, hope, depression, and spiritual well-being). Consistent with hypotheses, Forgiveness (AN) and Forgiveness (PP) were negatively correlated with state anger and positively correlated with existential well-being after controlling for the effects o f demographics and religiousness. Additionally, Forgiveness (AN) was negatively correlated with depression, and positively correlated with religious well-being. Contrary to hypotheses, the tendency to forgive across situations was not significantly correlated with any of the mental health measures. Contrary to hypotheses, no significant differences were found between Christian and Jewish participants with respect to the practice of forgiveness after controlling for the effects of demographics and religiousness. Consistent with hypotheses, Christian participants were more likely to agree with statements that embraced unconditional forgiveness, while Jewish participants were more likely to agree with statements supporting conditional forgiveness.


Forgiveness Religious aspects, Mental health Religious aspects

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