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The cognitive nature of forgiveness: Using cognitive strategies of primary appraisal and coping to describe the process of forgiving

By John Maltby, Ann Macaskill and Raphael Gillett


This paper was published as Journal of Clinical Psychology, 2007, 63 (6), pp. 555-566. It is available from http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/114219517/abstract. Doi: 10.1002/jclp.20367Metadata only entryThe present study investigated forgiveness in a traditional cognitive model of stress appraisal and coping and in a more recent model that includes the construct of low control stressors. One-hundred sixty six men and 168 women completed measures of forgiveness, primary stress appraisals, and coping strategies. For men, forgiveness was found to be positively associated with the use of challenge appraisals, and negatively associated with the use of loss appraisals and emotion-focused coping. For women, forgiveness was found to be positively associated with emotion-focused coping and acceptance, and negatively associated with avoidance. The results for women indicate that when forgiveness situations are conceptualized as low-control stressors, we are able to explain the relationships between forgiveness, appraisal, and coping. The results for men are broadly in line with a more traditional model of coping, which does not consider the construct of low control. Crucial differences in the ways that men and women appraise and cope with situations involving forgiveness are discussed

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1002/jclp.20367
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/7735
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