A new study shows that forgiving may be a factor in placing others at risk of contacting AIDS. In a longitudinal study, both feeling forgiven and forgiving others were associated with fewer depressive symptoms, fewer life stressors, a greater degree of religious involvement, and higher global quality of life. Furthermore, expressing forgiveness in the context of one's own HIV infection was associated with a decreased likelihood of placing others at risk through unprotected sex.
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According to researcher Rebecca Wald, this study presents preliminary results from an ongoing study of forgiveness in persons with HIV/AIDS. Because of the intense fear and stigma still associated with HIV/AIDS, many persons with HIV feel alienated from their families, communities, and churches. This sense of alienation is often intensified by feelings of shame or betrayal associated with routes of HIV transmission. These factors combine to place the multidimensional construct of forgiveness in a central role for persons living with HIV/AIDS. In this study, forgiveness was conceptualized as a multidimensional construct including both experiences of forgiving others and experiences of being forgiven, across a range of contexts interpersonal, spiritual, self/intrapersonal, and medical, and was assessed using an innovative Vignette Similarity Rating Method developed by Temoshok.
Sample: Participants were 131 adult patients in an HIV/AIDS clinic serving an economically disadvantaged inner city area. The sample was 56% male and 90% African-American, and had an average age of 42.5. Patients averaged 8.5 years since diagnosis with HIV, and the most common routes of transmission were intravenous drug use (49%) an
Contact: Vicki Robb
John Templeton Foundation