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Factors associated with forgiveness in intimate relationships and the impact of hope-focused marriage therapy

Dissertation
Author: Cynthia R. Leon
Abstract:
The significance of forgiveness in intimate relationships has recently gained the attention of couple researchers and theorists. Determinants of interpersonal forgiveness are explored in light of recent research, including social-cognitive variables, features of the offense, and qualities of the relationship. A comprehensive review of empirically supported clinical practice for couples therapy is provided with an emphasis on theoretical approaches to forgiveness. The current study examined the impact of the REACH forgiveness intervention and broader Hope-focused approach to couples counseling on levels of interpersonal forgiveness with a sample of married and engaged couples. Results indicated that both the implicitly and explicitly religious interventions significantly and consistently impacted forward movement in level of forgiveness toward one's partner according to Gordon and Baucom's (1998) three-stage synthesis model of forgiveness, with no significant difference between the treatment groups. Dyadic adjustment and counselor/researcher ratings at baseline were predictive of later forgiveness measures, but not a significant predictor of change patterns. Implications and limitations of the study and suggestions for further research are discussed.

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Full document contains 131 pages
Abstract: The significance of forgiveness in intimate relationships has recently gained the attention of couple researchers and theorists. Determinants of interpersonal forgiveness are explored in light of recent research, including social-cognitive variables, features of the offense, and qualities of the relationship. A comprehensive review of empirically supported clinical practice for couples therapy is provided with an emphasis on theoretical approaches to forgiveness. The current study examined the impact of the REACH forgiveness intervention and broader Hope-focused approach to couples counseling on levels of interpersonal forgiveness with a sample of married and engaged couples. Results indicated that both the implicitly and explicitly religious interventions significantly and consistently impacted forward movement in level of forgiveness toward one's partner according to Gordon and Baucom's (1998) three-stage synthesis model of forgiveness, with no significant difference between the treatment groups. Dyadic adjustment and counselor/researcher ratings at baseline were predictive of later forgiveness measures, but not a significant predictor of change patterns. Implications and limitations of the study and suggestions for further research are discussed.