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Forgiveness: An Exploratory Factor Analysis and Its Relationships to Religious Variables

Richard L. Gorsuch and Judy Y. Hao
Review of Religious Research
Vol. 34, No. 4 (Jun., 1993), pp. 333-347
DOI: 10.2307/3511971
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3511971
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Forgiveness: An Exploratory Factor Analysis and Its Relationships to Religious Variables
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Abstract

Few psychological investigators have empirically defined forgiveness, although many theoretical and case study discussions exist. Two emergent views--forgiveness as unidimensional or as multidimensional--were considered by conducting a dimensional factor analysis and then relating the factors to religious variables. Over 1000 respondents, chosen by stratified random sampling, were administered a Gallup poll questionnaire. Based on 25 forgiveness item responses, four primary factors were found: Forgiving Motive, Religious Response, Forgiving Pro-Action, and Hostility. A higher-order forgiveness factor also was extracted; thus forgiveness may be viewed as a single factor. However, forgiveness more accurately is best measured as a multifactorial concept, especially in the investigation of religion. Consistent with traditional Christian teachings, Protestants, Catholics, evangelicals, and the more personally religious generally reported more forgiving responses than Jewish, no/other religious preference, non-evangelical, and less personally religious respondents. Implications for theoretical models of forgiveness also are noted.

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