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Through school-based education classes

Forgiveness as an Educational Goal with At-risk Adolescents

Suzanne Freedman

Journal of Moral Education, 2018

Research details

Type of paper: Primary Empirical Study

Sample size: 10

Open Access: No


An educational intervention using forgiveness as the goal was implemented with 10 at-risk adolescents attending an alternative school in a Midwestern city. The adolescents ranged in age from 15 to 19 years of age. A randomized experimental and active control group pre- and post-test design was used. Twenty-one participants were randomly assigned to either the experimental group (forgiveness education class) or the control group (personal communications class). Classes met daily for 31 sessions for approximately 23 hours of education. Enright’s process model of forgiveness was used as the focus of the intervention. Dependent variables included forgiveness, self-esteem, hope, depression, and state-trait anxiety scales. After the education, the experimental group gained more than the control group in forgiveness and hope, and decreased significantly more than the control group in anxiety and depression. Verbal reports from the experimental participants following the education also illustrate the positive impact forgiveness had on the students.