Forgiveness and health-related outcomes among people with spinal cord injury

Jon R. Webb, Loren Toussaint, Claire Z. Kalpakjian, Denise G. Tate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Purpose. As motor vehicle accidents and violence cause the majority of spinal cord injuries (SCI) sustained in the USA and people with SCI will likely struggle with emotional issues related to the offender, the purpose of this exploratory study was to examine potential salutary effects of forgiveness among people with SCI incurred traumatically. Specifically, we hypothesized that forgiveness would have positive associations with health-related outcomes. Method. A community-based sample of 140 adults (19-82 years of age) with SCI completed a self-report survey regarding dispositional forgiveness of self and others, health behavior, health status, and life satisfaction. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were employed to examine the relationships in question. Results. After controlling for demographic variables, forgiveness of self was significantly associated with health behavior and life satisfaction (uniquely accounting for 7% and 13% of the variance, respectively) and forgiveness of others was significantly associated with health status (uniquely accounting for 9% of the variance). Conclusion.Results suggest that forgiveness may play a role in the health and life satisfaction of people with traumatic SCI, with the benefit depending on the type of forgiveness offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-366
Number of pages7
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2010


  • Forgiveness
  • Health
  • Spinal cord injury


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