Unforgiven and depressed late in life : the protective factor of forgivingness
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Feeling unforgiven by others is associated with higher levels of depression (Ingersoll-Dayton, Torges, & Krause, 2010) and the tendency to forgive (i.e., forgivingness) may help us to feel better about ourselves (Baumeister et al., 1998), thereby alleviating depression symptoms associated with feeling unforgiven. The current study draws upon forgiveness literature to determine if the tendency to forgive others ameliorates the association between feeling unforgiven by others late in life and symptoms of depression, both simultaneously and at two time points. The Religion, Aging, and Health Survey (Krause, 2006) was used to assess these questions. While the tendency to forgive at Wave 1 did not decrease the association between feeling unforgiven by others at Wave 1 and higher reports of depressive symptoms at Wave 2, the tendency to forgive others did ameliorate reports of depressive symptoms within waves when an individual felt unforgiven by others late in life. When individuals had a greater tendency to forgive others, the association between feeling unforgiven by others and higher levels of depression decreased. Therefore, the hypothesis that the tendency to forgive others ameliorates the association between feeling unforgiven and reports of depressive symptoms was supported. This current study has implications for personal relationships and forgiveness intervention programs.
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