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Duke study links forgiveness to less back pain, depression

A new study from Duke University Medical Center demonstrates that among people who have chronic back pain, those who have forgiven others experience lower levels of pain and less associated psychological problems like anger and depression than those who have not forgiven.

The findings will be presented at the Conference on Forgiveness in Atlanta October 24-25. To register, log on to the Press Room at http://Forgiving.org.

ABSTRACT:
Carson, James: Correlates of Forgiveness & Preliminary Results from a Loving Kindness Meditation Intervention for Low Back Pain Patients

1. Discuss the value of fostering forgiveness among chronic pain patients.
2. Identify specific consistent relationships between measures of forgiveness and important aspects of living with persistent pain.
3. Recognize specific techniques for promoting forgiveness in medical patients.

This presentation will report data on baseline correlates of forgiveness and preliminary treatment outcomes among patients with persistent low back pain who are enrolled in a novel intervention study. Chronic pain is a medical condition which is particularly relevant to the investigation of forgiveness. Anger and resentment - about an offender perceived as causing or aggravating their condition, or related to the chronicity of their condition - are emotions that are salient features of many persons' chronic pain experience. Anger can be a major complicating factor in the treatment of persistent pain, and also negatively impact patients' interactions with family members, co-workers, and health care providers.

The overall purpose of this study is to explore whether a novel, positive emotion-oriented strategy - loving-kindness meditation, a centuries-old Buddhist approach to developing love and forgiveness - can foster forgiveness, reduce anger, and improve the pain and adjustment of these patients. Forgiveness in this c
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Contact: Vicki Robb
vicki@jvrobb.com
703-329-3356
John Templeton Foundation
7-Oct-2003


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