Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 127–141 | Cite as

Compassion, Acts of Contrition, and Forgiveness in Middle and Late Life



The purpose of this study is to assess social and psychological factors that have not been examined frequently in studies on forgiving others. A latent variable model is developed that contains the following core relationships: (1) people who attend worship services more often will receive more informal spiritual support from fellow church members; (2) individuals who get more spiritual support will be more compassionate; (3) people who are more compassionate will be less likely to require transgressors to perform acts of contrition; and (4) individuals who do not require transgressors to perform acts of contrition will find it easier to forgive. Data from a nationwide survey of middle-aged and older adults provides support for each of these relationships.


Compassion Forgiveness Spiritual support Contrition 



This research is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (RO1 AG026259) and a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Education and Behavior, School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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