What does it take to forgive? Predictors of forgiveness among Filipino late adolescents

Monica Sophia L De Leon, Gilda D Lopez


Forgiveness can be a bridge to help restore relationships beset by bitterness and resentment caused by interpersonal offenses. What factors hinder forgiveness and what facilitate it? This study examined closely the factors that predict forgiveness using structural equation modeling. An integrated model of forgiveness in close relationships was tested among Filipino college students (N=1200) in Metro Manila who are between 16 to 22 years old. The factors were categorized according to: impact on self (perceived severity, negative emotions, rumination and attribution); offender’s behavior (acknowledging the offense and making amends); relationship (quality of relationship, commitment, and sense of indebtedness or utang na loob); and spirituality. Forgiveness was significantly predicted by empathy and impact on self but not spirituality. Together, the predictors explain 49 % of the variance in forgiveness. Empathy which was found to be the strongest predictor of forgiveness was further predicted by offender’s behavior after the offense and relationship. The factors were also found to be significantly correlated with each other. The findings of this study imply that empathy should be strongly encouraged among Filipinos to facilitate forgiveness.

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