Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Everett Worthington


Forgiveness research has seldom been directed toward alcohol use, misuse, and abuse. To date, forgiveness research in the realm of alcohol use, misuse, and abuse has focused on interpersonal consequences (e.g., Lin, Mack, Enright, Krahn, & Baskin, 2005; Scherer, Worthington, Hook, Campana, West, & Gartner, 2009; Worthington, Scherer, & Cooke, 2006), but has paid minimal attention to intrapersonal consequences. Psychologists today are just beginning to explore the complex and murky waters of self-forgiveness (or lack of it) and the alcohol misuser (e.g., Webb, Robinson, Brower, & Zucker, 2006). In the current dissertation, I review the literature on self-forgiveness, drinking refusal self-efficacy, and alcohol misuse. To explore this phenomena, I created a four-hour self-forgiveness intervention based off Worthington’s (2005) REACH model and motivational interviewing techniques (Miller & Rollnick, 2002). I then conducted the study utilizing a waitlist design with a sample of participants (N = 38) undergoing a routine alcohol rehabilitation protocol in one of two mental health centers in Michigan. The four-hour intervention delivered over three group therapy sessions was found to significantly promote reported levels of self-forgiveness, drinking refusal self-efficacy, and significantly decrease feelings of state guilt and state shame over an alcohol-related offense. I attempt to illustrate the necessity and practicality of the current research in standard addiction treatment. I then discuss in detail the self-forgiveness intervention tailored for alcohol misusing populations and discuss the results. Finally, I will provide a general discussion of the results of the self-forgiveness intervention and how the findings relate to the current body of literature.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2010

Included in

Psychology Commons