Religion and the Forgiving Personality

Michael E. McCullough, Everett L. Worthington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

256 Scopus citations


Forgiveness is a concept with deep religious roots. It is also a basic social and psychological phenomenon. In this article, we explore the links between forgiveness and religion by surveying how they are linked in the major monotheistic world religions, and how they appear to be linked empirically. In attempting to account for the current body of empirical findings, we propose four potential substantive and methodological explanations that should be explored in future studies. Because the concept of forgiveness is (a) both spiritual and social-psychological in nature, and (b) possibly linked to some measures of human health and well-being (concerns that have traditionally been of interest to both researchers in personality and researchers in religion), the concept of forgiveness could be an important common ground for future research on the interface of religion and personality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1141-1164
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of personality
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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