Duke study links forgiveness to less back pain, depression

ontext is understood as a person's act of deliberately giving up anger and resentment felt toward an offender, and fostering qualities of love, understanding, and compassion in their place. In this randomized controlled trial, patients are being assigned to the loving-kindness meditation protocol or a standard care control condition.

Findings will be reported on the baseline relationship of forgiveness to pain, anger, depression, and psychological distress among 58 patients. Taken together, these findings suggest that there is a strong and consistent relationship between forgiveness and important aspects of living with persistent pain, including pain itself and measures of adjustment.

Preliminary treatment outcomes based on data from the first 33 randomized patients will also be reported. To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate forgiveness in a medical population. Potential implications of our preliminary findings will be discussed, along with methodological issues in the study of forgiveness among medical patients.

Dr. Carson is Clinical Associate and Post Doctoral Fellow, Department of Pain Prevention and Treatment Research Program, Dept. of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center.


Contact: Vicki Robb
John Templeton Foundation

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