A meta-analysis testing the relation between forgiveness and physical health
Psychology and Health, 2019
Type of paper: Integrative/Synthetic Review
Sample size: 58531
Open Access: No
This meta-analysis tested the relation between forgiveness of others and physical health (PH) with age, gender, race, education level, employment status, sample type, research design, type of PH variables, and publication status as the potential moderators. Eligible studies had participants with or without physical or mental health problems and had quantitative data on forgiveness of others and PH. The random-effects model was used to aggregate Fisher’s z effect sizes, which were converted back to correlation coefficients. State forgiveness (forgiving an offense or offender) measures, trait forgiveness (a disposition to forgive) measures and physical health measures were included in the meta-analysis. A hundred and twenty-eight studies (N = 58,531) were retrieved, in which the mean effect sizes showed a significant positive relationship between forgiveness of others and PH (r = 0.14, p < 0.001, 95% CI [0.11, 0.17]). Further, no moderators showed a significant relation between forgiveness of others and PH. The positive relation between forgiveness of others and PH was not affected by potential moderators. Because the results are correlational, more forgiveness interventions may be needed to examine the causal effect of the relation between forgiveness of others and PH.