Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 7, pp 2185–2192 | Cite as

Trait Forgiveness and Dyadic Adjustment Predict Postnatal Depression

  • Jennifer S. Ripley
  • Everett L. WorthingtonJr.
  • Rachel C. Garthe
  • Don E. Davis
  • Joshua N. Hook
  • Chelsea A. Reid
  • Daryl R. Van Tongeren
  • Amy Voltmer
  • Camilla W. Nonterah
  • Richard G. Cowden
  • Anthony Coetzer-Liversage
  • Athena Cairo
  • Shaun Joynt
  • Bright Akpalu
Original Paper


The birth of a first child can be stressful on intimate partner relationships and the women having their first child. Conflict can occur, and hurts might be experienced, which could lead to post-partum depression. Thus, capacity for forgiveness with specific hurts might affect post-partum depression. We investigated women having their first child (N = 52), and examined whether dyadic adjustment, trait forgiveness, and situational forgiving during pregnancy predicted postpartum depression. This study found that marital forgiveness predicted lower levels of depression above and beyond the effects of general dyadic adjustment. Dyadic adjustment and trait forgiveness predicted postpartum depression while situational forgiving was mixed. Postpartum depression researchers are encouraged to consider the inclusion of positive psychology variables, such as forgiveness, in future research studies.


Positive psychology Dyadic adjustment Transition to parenthood Postpartum depression Forgiveness Stress in parenthood 


Author Contributions

J. R.: Conducted data analysis and wrote the paper. E. W.: designed and executed the study, assisted with the data analyses. R. G.: Executed the study and assisted with data analyses D. D., J. H., C. R. and D. V.: collaborated with the design, execution and writing of the study. A. V.: analyzed part of the data and wrote part of the results. C. N., R. C., A. C. L., S. J. and B. A.: collaborated in the design, writing and editing of the final manuscript.


We want to express our gratitude to the Fetzer Institute (#2266, Forgiveness and Relational Spirituality) and the John Templeton Foundation (#14979, Relational Humility; # 48321, Behavioral Measures of Humility in Couples) for contributing the funding toward the current project that made it possible. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Fetzer Institute or the John Templeton Foundation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics Statement

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. IRB approval for the study was obtained through Virginia Commonwealth University’s IRB.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer S. Ripley
    • 1
  • Everett L. WorthingtonJr.
    • 2
  • Rachel C. Garthe
    • 2
  • Don E. Davis
    • 3
  • Joshua N. Hook
    • 4
  • Chelsea A. Reid
    • 5
  • Daryl R. Van Tongeren
    • 6
  • Amy Voltmer
    • 1
  • Camilla W. Nonterah
    • 2
  • Richard G. Cowden
    • 7
  • Anthony Coetzer-Liversage
    • 2
  • Athena Cairo
    • 2
  • Shaun Joynt
    • 8
  • Bright Akpalu
    • 9
  1. 1.Regent UniversityVirginia BeachUSA
  2. 2.Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  3. 3.Georgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.University of North TexasDentonUSA
  5. 5.College of CharlestonCharlestonUSA
  6. 6.Hope CollegeHollandUSA
  7. 7.North West University South AfricaPotchefstroomSouth Africa
  8. 8.University of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa
  9. 9.University of Health and Allied Sciences of GhanaHohoeGhana

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