Forgiveness, well-being, and mental health

Jon R. Webb, Loren L. Toussaint

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The empirical examination of the role of forgiveness in the context of well-being and mental health is burgeoning. Since 1947, 714 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles have been published, 53% of which have been published in the last six years alone (i.e., since the last comprehensive review was published). Many published reports indicate associations of forgiveness with a variety of aspects of well-being and mental health (e.g., depression, anxiety, stress, addiction, suicide). More specifically, of the work-to-date explicitly focused on forgiveness in association with behavior related to addiction (44 studies) and suicide (25 studies), 90% and 100% of the empirical literature, respectively, reflects salubrious associations in the context of multiple dimensions of forgiveness. Although the field has taken root since the first edition of this Handbook (i.e., quantity of findings, consistency of findings, and the delineation of many sub-fields), much work remains to be done. Future research must involve more sophisticated design and analysis, continued definitional refinement, and exhaustive development and examination of theoretical models, including clarification of which dimensions of forgiveness may be most important for outcomes related to well-being and mental health and identification of non-linear associations of forgiveness with well-being and mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Forgiveness
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781351123334
ISBN (Print)9780815357988
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


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