International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 205-211

First online:

Relationship Between Forgiveness and Psychological and Physiological Indices in Cardiac Patients

  • Jennifer P. FriedbergAffiliated withVA NY Harbor Healthcare System, New York CampusNew York University School of Medicine Email author 
  • , Sonia SuchdayAffiliated withFerkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University
  • , V. S. SrinivasAffiliated withMontefiore Medical Center

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access



Research suggests that forgiveness is associated with better psychological and physical health and in particular cardiovascular functioning. Despite these findings, most forgiveness studies involve healthy participants.


The current study assessed the psychological and physiological correlates of forgiveness in individuals with coronary artery disease (CAD).


Self-reported forgiveness, perceived stress, anxiety, and depression, and physiological data, including triglycerides, total cholesterol, high- (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, were obtained from 85 hospitalized CAD patients.


Higher levels of forgiveness were associated with lower levels of anxiety (p < 0.05), depression (p < 0.01), and perceived stress (p < 0.005) as well as lower total cholesterol to HDL and LDL to HDL ratios (both at p < 0.05) after controlling for age and gender. The psychological indices did not mediate the relationship between forgiveness and cholesterol ratios.


Results suggest that the psychological correlates of forgiveness are similar in cardiac patients and healthy individuals. Further, among cardiac patients, forgiveness may be associated with reduced risk for future cardiovascular events.


Forgiveness Coronary artery disease Cholesterol Depression Anxiety Stress