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