Psychological Studies

, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 70–82 | Cite as

Explorations of Forgiveness in Ghanaian Marriages

  • Annabella Osei-TutuEmail author
  • Vivian A. Dzokoto
  • Mabel Oti-Boadi
  • Faye Z. Belgrave
  • Rita Appiah-Danquah
Research in Progress


This study examined marital forgiveness among 40 married individuals from southern Ghana. Analysis revealed various conceptualizations of forgiveness: (1) removal of negative emotions; (2) relationship restoration; (3) forgetting; (4) revenge, punishment, or retaliation avoidance; (5) refraining from making future references to the offense; and (6) minimizing the offense. Three reasons for granting forgiveness were observed: marital stability; marital harmony; and personal well-being. The process of granting forgiveness was partly influenced by Ghanaian culture and differed for men and women. Participants emphasized bodily expressions and gestures (e.g., “kneeling”) in the forgiveness process, and more women than men demanded pacification when they were wronged. The findings have implications for understanding and improving marital relationships of individuals with African ancestry.


African families Conflict management and resolution Marital forgiveness 



Funding was provided by Templeton World Charity Foundation Inc. (Grant No. TWCF0101/AB66).


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Copyright information

© National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annabella Osei-Tutu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vivian A. Dzokoto
    • 2
  • Mabel Oti-Boadi
    • 3
  • Faye Z. Belgrave
    • 4
  • Rita Appiah-Danquah
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GhanaAccraGhana
  2. 2.Department of African American StudiesVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  3. 3.Department of General StudiesGhana Technology University CollegeAccraGhana
  4. 4.Department of Health PsychologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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