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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Forgiveness as a relational enterprise: Giving back to you in order to get back to us
by Taylor, Arthur A., Ph.D., New York University, 2013, 167; 3599901
Abstract (Summary)

Forgiveness as a process of resolving interpersonal transgressions is associated with greater individual and relational health. This study expands current conceptualizations of forgiveness as a relational enterprise by asking two questions: What are the relational motivations for which people forgive? In what way or ways does the experience of being in relationship change after forgiving? Semi-structured individual and dyadic interviews of five adult romantic couples were conducted to examine the research questions. An open-coding analysis of the first research question yielded 11 motivation categories: Focusing on Myself, Reconnecting with my Partner, Giving to my Partner, I Want to Acknowledge my Partner's Efforts, Insight and Understanding, Acknowledging and Accepting Responsibility, Religious and Social Aspirations, The Relationship is the Priority, Getting on the Same Page with my Partner, Focusing on Moving Forward, and Other Motivations. The analysis also yielded 9 categories of changes associated with forgiveness: Moving Toward Selflessness, Personal Growth, Hopefulness, Better Communication, Creating Space for Vulnerability and Intimacy, Developing Trust, Clearer Expectations and Beliefs Abut the Relationship, We Have More Commitment and Resilience, and Other Changes. The relative frequencies of the categories in individual and dyadic interviews were explored to better understand the context in which these aspects of forgiveness manifest. A framework for interpreting these results was created to position the motivation categories within private, obligational, or relational orientations toward forgiveness. Similarly, the categories of change were interpreted to reflect three larger themes of how participants' used forgiveness to achieve relational goals by reflecting, engaging, and investing. Implications for these findings are applied to the theory and empirical literature on forgiveness in relationships. Clinical implications for couples therapy are addressed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mattis, Jacqueline S.
Commitee: Juni, Samuel, Suzuki, Lisa
School: New York University
Department: Applied Psychology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 75/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Counseling Psychology
Keywords: Forgiveness, Marriage, Positive psychology, Qualitative methods, Relationship
Publication Number: 3599901
ISBN: 978-1-303-49701-8
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