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Brad E. Bell


Forgiveness is an important characteristic of a healthy relationship. Several factors have been shown to be connected to forgiveness, but other factors may play a significant role in the forgiveness process. Little is known about how humility affects forgiveness in the context of an interpersonal conflict. Expressive writing, when combined with humility, may help counselors and other mental health providers in understanding how to better foster forgiveness among individuals and help them cope with stressful events and relational problems. The primary purpose of this study was to examine whether expressive writing involving humility regarding a minor offense leads to increased forgiveness compared to expressive writing that does not involve humility. The theoretical framework was based on the REACH model of forgiveness and Pennebaker's writing paradigm. The focus of the primary research question was on what role, if any, humility plays in forgiveness-based expressive writing. A randomized experimental design involving 4 groups was used. Each group received slightly different instructions, with 1 group having a humility (self-criticism) aspect. Forgiveness was measured using the TRIM-12 item questionnaire. Planned contrasts within a 1-way ANOVA were conducted along with a t test for analysis. The results of this research study were non-significant regarding the role of humility in increasing forgiveness in expressive writing. Regarding positive social change, this study adds to the literature by providing knowledge concerning what factors do not affect forgiveness in expressive writing and supports the need for future research on humility and forgiveness.

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