Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Forgiveness: It's Relation with Psychological Well-Being and Psychological Distress among Old Age Women

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Forgiveness: It's Relation with Psychological Well-Being and Psychological Distress among Old Age Women

Article excerpt

Forgiveness is the framing of a perceived transgression such that one's responses to the transgressor, transgression, and sequelae of the transgression are transformed from negative to neutral or positive. The source of a transgression, and therefore the object of forgiveness, may be oneself, another person or persons, or a situation that one views as being beyond anyone's control (Thompson et al., 2005) Currently, there is great theoretical interest in the possibility that forgiveness is involved in promoting well-being. Various models suggest that forgiveness can offer opportunities for recognizing a deeper meaning in the transgression, developing compassion for others, appreciating social support systems, and discovering a renewed sense of life purpose (Enright, Freedman, & Rique, 1998). Empirical studies suggest that forgiveness have potential benefits for mental health (Toussaint & Webb, 2005), and well-being (Brown, 2003 ; Karremans, Van Lange, Ouwerkerk, & Kluwer, 2003; Karuse & Ellison, 2003).

Psychological well-being

Psychological well-being is usually conceptualized as some combination of positive affective states such as happiness (the hedonic perspective) and functioning with optimal effectiveness in individual and social life (the eudaimonic perspective) (Deci & Ryan, 2008). Psychological well-being is about lives going well. It is the combination of feeling good and functioning effectively (Huppert, 2009). Psychological well-being refers to one's positive intrapersonal, interpersonal, and social functioning that is influenced by his or her perception and meaning given to his or her life situations (Ryff & Singer, 1996). Psychological well-being can be measured as emotional well-being in a hedonistic sense (i.e., experiencing more positive affect than negative affect) and positive psychological functioning in a eudaimonic sense (i.e., living a meaningful life and fulfilling one's potentials).

Psychological distress

Psychological distress is viewed as an emotional condition that involves negative views of the self, others and the environment and is characterized by unpleasant subjective states such as feeling tense, worried, worthless and irritable (Barlow and Durand, 2005). These subjective states can reduce the emotional resilience of individuals and impact on their ability to enjoy life and to cope with pain, disappointment and sadness. Psychological distress can be viewed as a continuum in which people can move from experiencing wellbeing to distress andback at various times throughout their lives (Horwitz and Scheid, 1999; Mechanic, 1999).

A link between forgiveness and mental and physical health has attracted much attention in psychological research (McCullough, 2000; Thoresen, Harris, & Luskin, 2000). In forgiveness research, psychological well-being has often been considered equivalent to global satisfaction of life, minimal psychological distress or absence of psychopathology, or a combination of certain positive cognition and affect. Thus, a possible relationship between forgiveness and psychological well-being in the eudaimonic sense has been overlooked

Prior research suggested that trait forgiveness is generally more strongly correlated with some aspects or components of psychological well-being and other mental health variables than state forgiveness (McCullough & Witvliet, 2002).

HFS was also foundto positively predict satisfaction with life and negatively predict trait anger, state anxiety, and depression among college students (Thompson et al., 2005).

Among the wide variety' of protective factors that have been recognized, acceptance, forgiveness, and gratitude appear to be three personal characteristics that have been found to be closely related to psychological well-being (McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002; Nakamura & Orth, 2005).

The Human Development Study Group (1991) revealed positive results, indicating that the promotion of forgiveness enhances psychological well-being among individuals coping with a variety of serious offenses. …

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