Forgiveness Reduces Anger in a School Bullying Context

This research investigated an experimental manipulation providing children with response advice following a bullying incident. Children read hypothetical physical and verbal bullying scenarios, followed by advice from a friend to either respond with forgiveness, avoidance, or revenge, in a within-subjects repeated measures design. One hundred eighty-four children aged 11 to 15 from private schools in Sydney, Australia, participated in this study. The authors reported results indicated that advice to forgive the perpetrator led to significantly less anger than advice to either avoid or exact revenge. Avoidance was the most likely advice to be followed by students and the most likely to result in ignoring the bullying and developing empathy for their abuser. However, it also resulted in interpretations of the bullying as being more serious. The authors suggested forgiveness as an effective coping response for ameliorating the affective aggressive states of victimized youth. The authors recommended further exploration regarding the interplay between the avoidance and forgiveness processes.

Watson, Hayley, Rapee, Ron, and Todorov, Natasha. (2015). Forgiveness Reduces Anger in a School Bullying Context. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. doi:10.1177/0886260515589931

About rickyWburk

Ricky W. Burk, CCC-SLP, BCS-F, is a speech-language pathologist who provides in-home therapy for adolescents and adults residing in Tennessee and Mississippi who stutter. His career includes PreK, elementary, middle, and high school practice, undergraduate & graduate faculty appointments, skilled nursing, national & international consultation, private practice, and national & international speaking presentations. He holds the American Speech-Language Hearing Association Certificate of Clinical Competence, and he is a Board Certified Specialist in Fluency Disorders. He is the ASHA Continuing Education Administrator for the National Association for Speech Fluency.
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