Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 222–231 | Cite as

It Pays to Forgive! Aging, Forgiveness, Hostility, and Health

  • Nava R. Silton
  • Kevin J. Flannelly
  • Laura J. Lutjen


The relationships among age, forgiveness, hostility, and subjective health were examined in a sample of 1,629 US adults who completed a Web-based survey sponsored by Spirituality and Health magazine. A structural equation model was used to test hypotheses about the relationships between age, forgiveness, hostility, and poor health. The model confirmed that age was positively related to poor health (p < .001) and to forgiveness (p < .001). The model further confirmed the hypothesized negative relationship between forgiveness and hostility (p < .001) and a positive relationship between hostility and poor health (p < .001). Overall, forgiveness had an indirect salutary effect on health through its negative association with hostility. The findings thus support the notion that as one ages, forgiveness may serve as an indirect health benefit by reducing hostility. The present results therefore suggest that the deleterious effects of age on health may be moderated whereby the wisdom of age enhances a person’s ability to forgive.


Age Forgiveness Health Hostility 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nava R. Silton
    • 1
  • Kevin J. Flannelly
    • 2
  • Laura J. Lutjen
    • 3
  1. 1.Marymount Manhattan CollegeNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Center for Psychosocial ResearchMassapequaUSA
  3. 3.The Spears Research InstituteHealthcare ChaplaincyNew YorkUSA

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