2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

P.S. I Forgive You: Effect of a Brief Expressive Writing Intervention on Forgiveness
Christine R. Bowles
Dr. Michele Breault and Dr. Teresa Heckert, Faculty Mentors

This study examined the effects of expressive letter writing on the forgiveness of college students; specifically, it examined if changes in the structure of expressive writing prompts could increase forgiveness. While research has shown that expressive writing offers both physical and mental health benefits, and forgiveness is directly related to psychological well-being, little empirical data is available on the clinical applications of expressive writing as a forgiveness intervention. This study implemented a brief, online intervention to a group (N=51) of college students to determine if expressive writing promotes forgiveness by reducing vengeful feelings, decreasing avoidant behaviors, and promoting benevolent thoughts towards the target offender. This study tested two different writing tasks to determine the most effective structure for a forgiveness-related writing intervention. It was found that expressive writing does have a significant effect on forgiveness; however, the two writing structures tested were not different from each other in their effectiveness.

Keywords: forgiveness, expressive writing, positive psychology

Topic(s):Psychology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 111-5
Location: MG 1000
Time: 9:00

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