Defense Date

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Everett Worthington

Abstract

Research on forgiveness has been expanding rapidly in the last decade with a subset of studies looking at how religious people forgive. A discrepancy persists between Christians’ level of valuing forgiveness and forgiveness of actual transgressions. Several methodological issues and offense-specific variables have been presented as explanations. This present thesis examines the role of the congregation as a group identity, and applies it to a theory of relational spirituality, as a measure of the relationship between a victim and the Sacred. No existing research has polled congregants about offense-specific forgiveness of church peers. I collected data from members of Christian congregations throughout the United States (Study 1, N = 63) and college students belonging to Christian congregations (Study 2, N = 387) concerning group identity and within group forgiveness. In the present studies, group identification with a congregation predicted lower unforgiving and higher forgiving motivations towards an in-group offender.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2011

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