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Forgiveness by God, Forgiveness of Others, and Psychological Well–Being in Late Life

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The purpose of this study is to examine the relationships among forgiveness by God, forgiveness of others, and psychological well–being with data provided by a nationwide survey of older adults. Three main findings emerge from the analyses. First, the data suggest that forgiving others tends to enhance psychological well–being, and these salubrious effects are greater than those associated with forgiveness by God. Second, the findings indicate that how older people go about forgiving others is important: older adults who require transgressors to perform acts of contrition experience more psychological distress than those who forgive unconditionally. Third, the results reveal that forgiveness by God may be involved in this process because older people who feel they are forgiven by God are less likely to expect transgressors to perform acts of contrition.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Michigan nkrause@umich.edu 2: University of Texas at Austin cellison@mail.la.utexas.edu

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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