Forgiveness as a moderator of the association between anger expression and suicidal behaviour

Jameson K. Hirsch, Jon R. Webb, Elizabeth L. Jeglic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Anger is often associated with poor physical and mental health, including suicidal behaviour. Anger expression is typically conceptualised as inward or outwarddirected, with each mode of expression having potentially different aetiologies and health manifestations. Individual characteristics such as religion or spirituality may buffer against the effects of anger. One such characteristic, forgiveness, is the voluntary process of changing ones' beliefs, behaviours, and emotions towards a transgressor from negative to positive. We examined forgiveness of self, forgiveness of others and feeling forgiven by God as moderators of the relationship between anger expression and suicidal behaviours in a sample of 372 ethnically diverse college students. In independent and full models, we found that forgiveness of self was a significant moderator of the association between inward and outward anger and suicidal behaviour. Interventions targeting anger via the promotion of forgiveness may be useful in the prevention of suicide ideation and attempts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-300
Number of pages22
JournalMental Health, Religion and Culture
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2012

Keywords

  • anger
  • anger expression
  • forgiveness
  • suicidal behaviour
  • suicide ideation

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