Self-forgiveness: theoretical background and research findings

Lucia Martinčeková


Despite the evidence that self-forgiveness is more strongly associated with physical health and well-being compared to interpersonal forgiveness, and that the results of self-blaming may be extreme, self-forgiveness has received considerately less attention in theory and research, compared to interpersonal forgiveness.
The aim of this study is a critical overview of the current theoretical and empirical studies in this area. The paper focuses on a definition of self-forgiveness with an emphasis of its important aspects such as remorse, responsibility taking, and conciliatory behaviour. The study defines similarities and differences of self-forgiveness and interpersonal forgiveness. It is stressed that self-forgiveness is a process which takes time and the steps of self-forgiveness are described. The intervention studies of self-forgiveness are discussed, with an emphasis on their results and methodological limitations. Finally, a critical attitude toward self-forgiveness and argumentation against these critical views are presented. Future direction of research in self-forgiveness is outlined.

(Fulltext in Slovak)


self-forgiveness, interpersonal forgiveness, emotion, intervention


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