Forgiveness : Theory, Research, and Practice book cover
1st Edition

Theory, Research, and Practice

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ISBN 9781572307117
Published October 25, 2001 by Guilford Press
334 Pages

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Book Description

Bringing together a distinguished array of researchers and scholars, this volume reviews the breadth of current knowledge on the psychology of forgiveness. In addition to presenting cutting-edge theory and research, the book outlines crucial issues that must be addressed to advance the state of the science in years to come. The first section provides a historical and conceptual overview, examining definitional problems and giving special attention to religious and cultural influences on how forgiveness is understood and experienced. The biological, developmental, social, and personality foundations of forgiveness are then explored. The final section covers applications in clinical research and practice, including guidelines for studying and applying forgiveness-based strategies in psychotherapy, counseling, and interventions to promote health. This volume will be of interest to a broad interdisciplinary audience of researchers, educators, students, and practicing professionals.

Table of Contents

1. The Psychology of Forgiveness: History, Conceptual Issues, and Overview, Michael E. McCullough, Kenneth I. Pargament, and Carl E. Thoresen
I. Conceptual and Measurement Issues
2.Religious Perspectives on Forgiveness, Mark S. Rye, Kenneth I. Pargament, M. Amir Ali, Guy L. Beck, Elliot N. Dorff, Charles Hallisey, Vasudha Narayanan, and James G. Williams
3.The Meaning of Forgiveness in a Specific Situational and Cultural Context: Persons Living with HIV/AIDS in India, Lydia R. Temoshok and Prabha S. Chandra
4. What We Know (and Need to Know) about Assessing Forgiveness Constructs, Michael E. McCullough, K. Chris Rachal, and William T. Hoyt
II. Basic Psychological Research
5. The Neuropsychological Correlates of Forgiveness, Andrew B. Newberg, Eugene G. d'Aquili, Stephanie K. Newberg, and Verushka deMarici
6. Developmental and Cognitive Points of View on Forgiveness, Etienne Mullet and Michele Girard
7. Expressing Forgiveness and Repentance: Benefits and Barriers, Julie Juola Exline and Roy F. Baumeister
8. Personality and Forgiveness, Robert A. Emmons
III. Applications in Counseling, Psychotherapy, and Health
9. Forgiveness as a Process of Change in Individual Psychotherapy, Wanda M. Malcolm and Leslie S. Greenberg
10. The Use of Forgiveness in Marital Therapy, Kristina Coop Gordon, Donald H. Baucom, and Douglas K. Snyder
11. Group Interventions to Promote Forgiveness: What Researchers and Clinicians Ought to Know, Everett L. Worthington, Jr., Steven J. Sandage, and Jack W. Berry
12. Forgiveness and Health: An Unanswered Question, Carl E. Thoresen, Alex H. S. Harris, and Frederic Luskin
13. Forgiveness in Pastoral Care and Counseling, John Patton
IV. Conclusion
14. The Frontier of Forgiveness: Seven Directions for Psychological Study and Practice, Kenneth I. Pargament, Michael E. McCullough, and Carl E. Thoresen

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Michael E. McCullough, PhD, is Director of Research at the National Institute for Healthcare Research in Rockville, Maryland. The author or coauthor of two previous books, Dr. McCullough investigates forgiveness, the association of religion and spirituality with physical and mental health, and the influence of religion and spirituality on counseling, psychotherapy, and care at the end of life.

Kenneth I. Pargament, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at Bowling Green State University, where he is also Director of Clinical Training of the clinical psychology PhD program. He has published extensively in the psychology of religion, stress, and coping, and is the author of The Psychology of Religion and Coping.

Carl E. Thoresen, PhD, is Professor of Education, Psychology, and Psychiatry/Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. His research interests involve assessment and management of the Type A behavior pattern, greater methodological diversity in behavioral health/medicine research, and the role of spiritual and religious factors in health, broadly defined. He is the author of 7 books and over 150 articles and book chapters.


After decades of neglect, forgiveness has emerged as a 'hot topic' in psychology, with exciting new developments on many fronts. Forgiveness: Theory, Research, and Practice provides a state-of-the-art compendium of what we know about forgiveness as we enter the new millennium. Scholarly and eminently readable, this book should be of broad interest to theologians and anyone else concerned with the painful consequences of non-forgiveness--estrangement, divorce, racial conflict, and international war, to name just a few. --June Tangney, PhD, George Mason University

This is a volume of impressive scope and scholarship. The chapters are clear and authoritative, and together they adopt a range of perspectives--historical, religious, interpersonal, spiritual, cultural, and clinical, to name but a few--that provide readers with a glimpse of how complex and fascinating the topic of forgiveness can be. McCullough, Pargament, and Thoresen have produced an immensely satisfying book that lays the foundation for a new interdisciplinary field of inquiry. Consequently, this book is an ideal point of departure for anyone seeking an introduction to contemporary research and thinking on forgiveness, and an ideal reference for those seeking a comprehensive analysis of this domain. --Thomas Bradbury, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles

Forgiveness has the potential for being one of the key issues of the 21st century. If you want the most up-to-date, thorough, and scholarly treatment of this important topic, then this volume is for you. A multifaceted gem, the book sends beams of insight in every direction. Readers across a range of psychological disciplines not only will gain an understanding of forgiveness, they will also find a wealth of ideas to stimulate their own thinking and research. --C. R. Snyder, PhD, Professor and Director, Clinical Psychology Program, University of Kansas