By employing empirical studies
Handbook of Forgiveness, 2019
Type of paper: Integrative/Synthetic Review
Open Access: No
This chapter sketches the overall gestalt of the literature on forgiveness by providing a bibliography of narrative reviews and meta-analyses published on forgiveness between 2004 and 2018. The literature was organized into five domains: conceptualization and measurement; individual and personality differences; health and well-being; dyads, organizations, and societies; and clinical intervention. Conceptualizations of various dimensions of forgiveness commonly refer to forgiveness as the release of an emotional burden associated with honest appraisal of a perceived transgression. The chapter reviews individual differences in forgiveness on several sociodemographic characteristics. Although the forgiveness-health association might be conceptualized in a variety of ways, several scholars adapted stress-and-coping models to integrate research that links forgiveness to health and well-being. Investigators recently expanded the historical focus on individuals' experiences with forgiveness to forgiveness when it occurs in dyads, organizations, and societies. One of the most proliferative domains within the forgiveness literature is devoted to the development of clinical interventions designed to promote forgiveness. Based on the review, the chapter offers an omnibus model of forgiveness and directions for future research. It concludes that the study of forgiveness offers promise to novice researchers looking to build expertise and established scientists looking to expand to new areas.