The Effects of Forgiveness on Mental Health Essay

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Forgiveness has been defined in many ways by psychologists and researchers with no one universal definition. Hill (as cited in Maltby, Day and Mackaskill 2001) state that it is widely agreed that forgiveness involves a willingness to abandon resentment, negative judgement and indifferent behaviour towards the person who has hurt them Although research is recent, from the last 15 years, it has helped develop our understanding of forgiveness . Research has shown that forgiveness gives positive mental health and prevents the development of mental disorders such as anxiety, depression and stress. Two major models of forgiveness are Enright’s model and Worthington’s (2001) pyramid model to REACH forgiveness. Both these models involve steps and …show more content…
In the work phase the individual will feel empathy toward the offender. Finally in the deepening phase involves awareness of decreased negative affect, maybe an increase in positive affect. This model was proposed to promote forgiveness in individuals and was developed from empirical research. If forgiveness can be given this will improve an individual’s mental health as the model suggests and empirical evidence proves support this from a series of studies which had consistent findings to support the argument that forgiveness does indeed give improved mental health.
Hebl and Enright (1993) conducted a study on elderly females who had suffered from various injusticies such as spousal conflict and overmedication to show forgiveness can be induced and with therapeutic goals. Further findings come from Coyle and Enright (1997) who used a forgiveness intervention on males who had been hurt by a partners abortion who found forgiveness lead to reductions in anger, anxiety and grief, therefore forgiving does have a positive effect on mental health. A second study by Al-Mabuk, Enright and Cardis (1995) on students who had been love deprived. In an experimental group where the students went through seventeen steps of the process model had decreased anxiety and improved their attitude towards their mother/father
All the above intervention studies concluded that forgiveness can be
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