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Investigating the place of forgiveness within the Positive Youth Development paradigm

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This article examines the place of forgiveness within the Positive Youth Development (PYD) paradigm. We suggest knowledge of forgiveness can be advanced by understanding it from a developmental perspective. We review research indicating that forgiveness can contribute to positive developmental outcomes during adolescence and we explore theoretical relationships between forgiveness and three important components of the PYD perspective: the development of a moral identity, developmental assets and adolescents as co-producers of their development. These particular PYD concepts are discussed because of their relation to scholarly work on forgiveness and because they can provide a developmental perspective that may advance our understanding of forgiveness. Finally, we discuss the implications of conceptualising forgiveness from a PYD perspective for research on forgiveness and for forgiveness education. Research implications include examining how youth move from one point in the forgiveness process to the next, investigating forgiveness across transgressors and contexts and exploring individual differences in forgiveness. Implications for education include integrating forgiveness education into youth programmes, developing models of forgiveness and teaching youth strategies to gain self-awareness and increase intentional action.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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