facebookThe Propensity to Forgive: Findings... by Fabiola Azar,Etienne Mullet,Genevieve Vinsonneau | Templeton

By employing apologies and religious proximity

The Propensity to Forgive: Findings from Lebanon

Fabiola Azar, Etienne Mullet, Genevieve Vinsonneau

Journal of Peace Research, 1999

Research details

Type of paper: Primary Empirical Study

Sample size: 48

Open Access: Yes


The propensity to forgive a severe offense is studied in a sample of 48 people from three religious communities in Lebanon: Catholics, Maronites, and Orthodox. The effects of a number of circumstances: intent to harm, cancellation of consequences, religious and social proximity to the offender and apologies from the offender, on the propensity to forgive, and the variation of these effects as a function of age, gender, and educational level, were considered. The method was an application of Norman Anderson’s functional theory of cognition. Twenty-four stories were constructed by varying systematically the levels of each of the four factors quoted above. Participants were asked to rate in each case their propensity to forgive on a forgiveness scale. The more important results concern: (a) the overall level of propensity to forgive, which was higher than expected, (b) the impact of the religious proximity factor, which was very slight, and (c) the effect of the apologies factor, which was extremely important.