Theoretical and Empirical Connections Between Forgiveness, Mental Health, and Well-Being

Authored by: Loren Toussaint , Jon R. Webb

Handbook of Forgiveness

Print publication date:  June  2005
Online publication date:  December  2007

Print ISBN: 9780415949491
eBook ISBN: 9780203955673
Adobe ISBN: 9781135410889


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In this chapter, we review theoretical and empirical studies of forgiveness and mental health. Mental health variables are defined, consistent with the DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994), and may include symptoms of disorders (e.g., depression) or actual disorders (e.g., major depression). Studies that include relevant mental health variables, such as nonspecific psychological distress and life satisfaction/well-being, are also included. 1 The focus of this chapter is to understand connections between forgiveness and mental health, broadly defined, and critically to examine the state of our knowledge in terms of the potentially salutary effects of forgiveness on mental health and well-being.

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