Aversive Interpersonal Events, Psychopathology, Health

  • McCullough, Michael (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Forgiveness has been linked to better psychological, emotional, and physiological functioning, whereas the failure to forgive has been linked to increased risk for psychopathology and impairments to physiological functioning. This application proposes a five-year program of research to investigate the potentially beneficial effects of forgiveness for reducing risk for psychopathology, improving psychological well-being, reducing alcohol-related problems, reducing anger and stress-related physiological arousal, and improving cognitive performance. To encourage forgiveness among recent victims of interpersonal transgressions, we will
develop and evaluate a laboratory-based "benefit-finding" induction. Benefit-finding after adversity is very common and fosters resilience after traumatic life events. Thus, benefit-finding may help people forgive and thereby overcome the negative psychological, emotional, physiological, and cognitive effects of not forgiving.
Also, the proposed project extends previous efforts to explore forgiveness as a change process using recent statistical advances. The proposed project has five specific aims: (1) to examine the link between benefit-finding and forgiveness experimentally; (2) to identify variables based on Equity Theory that moderate the effect of benefit-finding on forgiveness; (3) to better understand forgiveness as a change process using growth mixture modeling; (4) To determine whether forgiveness reduces risk for negative outcomes in the domains of psychopathology and psychological well-being; alcohol use; emotion, physiology; and cognitive performance; and (5) to determine whether forgiveness mediates the relationship between a benefit-finding
induction and the outcomes listed above. In addition, the research will develop a technique?thinking and writing about possible personal benefits associated with a transgression one has suffered?that may have future clinical applications for reducing the burden of psychopathology and for reducing problems related to alcohol use, anger, stress-related physiological arousal, and cognitive performance.
Effective start/end date9/30/055/31/10


  • National Institutes of Health: $220,885.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $225,547.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $267,248.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $263,356.00


  • Medicine(all)


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