Interpersonal forgiveness: a concept analysis. Effectiveness, risks and benefits for psychological wellbeing of forgiveness therapy

Barbara Barcaccia

Abstract


The scientific study of forgiveness dates back to the ’80s of the last century. Ther e is now a large bulk of correlational, longitudinal and experimental data on forgiveness. A series of cross-sectional studies show a high negative correlation between forgiveness and various dimensions of psychological suffering: individuals who are more forgiving are also less depressed and anxious. Moreover, several experimental studies demonstrate that modulating and increasing forgiving disposition and behaviours, as in Forgiveness Therapy, not only determines a significant decrease in in psychopathological suffering, such as anxiety, anger, and depression, but it also causes an increase in several psychological variables of wellbeing, such as trust, hope, self-efficacy, and joy. In the present article, a concept analysis of forgiveness is presented; its function and the related variables are examined, such as revenge and avoidance. Finally, the effectiveness, along with the benefits and risks of Forgiveness Therapy are explored.

Keywords: Interpersonal forgiveness; benefits of forgiveness; forgiveness therapy; psychopathology; effectiveness of forgiveness therapy.


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  ISSN PRINT: 1125-5196  -   ISSN ONLINE: 1974-4854