Longitudinal Relationship Between Forgiveness of Self and Forgiveness of Others Among Individuals With Alcohol Use Disorders

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Abstract

Previous research has suggested that forgiveness of self and forgiveness of others might function differently over the course of addiction recovery. However, we know little about the longitudinal process of these dimensions of forgiveness for individuals addressing alcohol-use disorders. Increased knowledge would inform the content and sequencing of intervention strategies. Three-hundred and sixty four individuals managing alcohol dependence participated in a 30-month longitudinal study, reporting their capacity to forgive self and to forgive others every 6 months. Findings indicated that (a) participants were more forgiving of others than themselves; (b) both types of forgiveness increased over time; (c) forgiveness of self increased more rapidly than forgiveness of others; and (d) while increases in both types of forgiveness predicted increases in the other type, the effect of forgiveness of others on forgiveness of self was twice as strong as the reverse effect. Implications for facilitating forgiveness in treatment are discussed.

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