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By assessing physical and mental well-being longitudinally

Forgiveness and Well-being

Charlotte V. O. Witvliet, Lindsey Root Luna

Positive Psychology Interventions: Established and Emerging Issues, 2017

Research details

Type of paper: Theoretical/Conceptual/Review

Open Access: No


Forgiveness can arise only in the context of an interpersonal injustice. The possibility of forgiveness emerges when a transgressor acts, or fails to act, in a way that is unjust and wounds a victim. The victim's perception of the injustice and the wound may differ considerably from how the transgressor or witnesses perceive it. Forgiveness theory and research point to the importance of focusing on the humanity of the offender, which resists totalizing him or her in terms of the offense. Within the social sciences, the measurement of forgiveness has received substantial attention. The science and practice of forgiveness are combined in research on the affective implications of granting forgiveness. The relationship between forgiveness and well-being also has been assessed using longitudinal designs. Fluctuations in forgiveness were related to subsequent increases in self-reported hedonic well-being. The emerging literature on seeking forgiveness is showing that it can have positive side effects similar to forgiveness granting.