Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Correlational Study on Self-Forgiveness and the Risk of Relapse in Adults Recovering from Alcohol Addiction
by Matendechere, Elizabeth Nanjala, Ph.D., Northcentral University, 2018, 174; 10844068
Abstract (Summary)

Self-forgiveness is an emotion focused coping mechanism that increases positive emotions and behaviors. Self-forgiveness has been found to be moderated by guilt and shame in support of Hall and Finchman’s theory on the emotional components of self-forgiveness. Men and women recovering from alcohol addiction have been found to struggle with shame and guilt, however, little is understood about this association. This quantitative correlational non-experimental research study investigated the relationship between self-forgiveness and risk of relapse in adults who were recovering from alcohol abuse, how shame and guilt moderated this relationship and how this relationship differed by gender. Anonymous surveys were conducted in two treatment centres and two Alcoholic Anonymous recovery meetings in the city of Calgary. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire, The Heartland Forgiveness Scale, Alcohol Risk of Relapse Scale, and the Guilt and Shame Proneness Scale. Multiple regression and moderation analyses were conducted to test the study hypotheses. Self-forgiveness was found to have a non-significant relationship with risk of relapse (β = .040, p < .720) and the scores did not differ by gender [Male (β = –.061, p < .641), and Female (β = –.0.17, p < .937)]. Shame (F (3, 79) = .614, p = .608), and guilt (F (3, 79) = 7.244, p = .000) did not have a moderating effect on the relationship between self-forgiveness and the risk of relapse. When shame and guilt interacted with self-forgiveness in predicting risk of relapse, the results did not differ by gender [Male (F (4, 55) = 5.770, p = .001), and female (F (4, 18) = .580, p = .681)]. However, a result not hypothesized in the study was found among male participants that guilt was predictive of risk of relapse ( F (3, 56) = 7.595, p = .000). This study highlights the impact of maladaptive guilt that maintains the cycle of addiction. Clinicians can utilize this knowledge to employ strategies of eliminating maladaptive guilt in psychotherapy. Further research is needed to determine if these results could be replicated with other demographic groups to identify other plausible mechanisms between self-forgiveness at risk of relapse.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ackerman, Michelle, Stones, Andjelka
Commitee: Avena, Nicole
School: Northcentral University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 80/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Counseling Psychology, Psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Addictions, Adults, Guilt, Risk of relapse, Self-forgiveness, Shame
Publication Number: 10844068
ISBN: 9780438498358
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