Forgiveness Makes Sense: Forgiving Others Enhances the Salutary Associations of Meaning-Making With Traumatic Stress Symptoms

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Armenia is a small country in the Southern Caucasus region—independent since the fall of the Soviet regime—that is unsettled economically and politically. Research in developing societies like Armenia is limited, especially regarding how people endure adverse living conditions. The present study is the first known examination of the separate and interactive effects of meaning-making and forgiveness as they relate to traumatic stress symptomology in Armenia. Data were collected from 115 Armenian adults. Measures included traumatic stress symptoms, meaning in life, and forgiveness. Greater meaning in one’s life was associated with fewer traumatic stress symptoms. The association was significantly stronger for those with higher as compared to lower forgiveness of others. Forgiving others may offer a means of facilitating meaning making as a buffer against traumatic stress symptoms in the midst of difficult social and economic living conditions.

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