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Erschienen in: Annals of Behavioral Medicine 5/2016

11.04.2016 | Original Article

Forgiveness, Stress, and Health: a 5-Week Dynamic Parallel Process Study

verfasst von: PhD Loren L. Toussaint, MA Grant S. Shields, PhD George M. Slavich

Erschienen in: Annals of Behavioral Medicine | Ausgabe 5/2016

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Abstract

Background

Psychological stress is a well-known risk factor for poor health, and recent research has suggested that the emotion-focused coping process of forgiveness may help mitigate these effects. To date, however, no studies have examined how levels of forgiveness, stress, and health fluctuate and interrelate over time.

Purpose

We addressed this issue by examining how forgiveness, stress, and mental and physical health symptoms change and relate to one another over 5 weeks. We hypothesized that increases in state levels of forgiveness would be associated with decreases in perceptions of stress, which would in turn be related to decreases in mental and physical health symptoms. A reverse effects model was also tested.

Methods

We recruited a large, community-based sample of 332 young, middle-aged, and older adults (16–79 years old; M age = 27.9). Each week for 5 weeks, participants reported on their levels of state forgiveness, perceived stress, and mental and physical health symptoms.

Results

Levels of forgiveness, stress, and mental and physical health symptoms each showed significant change and individual variability in change over time. As hypothesized, increases in forgiveness were associated with decreases in stress, which were in turn related to decreases in mental (but not physical) health symptoms (i.e., forgiveness → stress → health). The reverse effects model (i.e., health → stress → forgiveness) provided a relatively poorer fit.

Conclusions

This study is the first to provide prospective, longitudinal evidence showing that greater forgiveness is associated with less stress and, in turn, better mental health. Strategies for cultivating forgiveness may thus have beneficial effects on stress and health.
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Metadaten
Titel
Forgiveness, Stress, and Health: a 5-Week Dynamic Parallel Process Study
verfasst von
PhD Loren L. Toussaint
MA Grant S. Shields
PhD George M. Slavich
Publikationsdatum
11.04.2016
Verlag
Springer US
Erschienen in
Annals of Behavioral Medicine / Ausgabe 5/2016
Print ISSN: 0883-6612
Elektronische ISSN: 1532-4796
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s12160-016-9796-6