Empirical Investigation of the Relationships Between Irrationality, Self-Acceptance, and Dispositional Forgiveness

Abstract

Milburn (J Ration Emot Cogn Behav Ther 33:325–340, 2015) recently suggested a theoretical link between REBT and forgiving, proposing that irrational beliefs, particularly demandingness and global evaluations of human worth, play a role in lack of forgiveness. The present study investigated a quantitative link between the concepts of irrationality, self-acceptance, and dispositional forgiveness. Four-hundred and thirty-three participants (70% female) participated in a 69-item online survey combining four previously validated scales: Shortened General Attitude and Belief Scale; Heartland Forgiveness Scale; Unconditional Self-Acceptance Questionnaire; and the Transgression Narrative Test of Forgivingness—(with revised response-options). Results indicated moderate and strong negative correlations between irrationality and dispositional forgiveness. Conversely, unconditional self-acceptance was significantly positively correlated with dispositional forgiveness. Regression analyses indicated that subtypes of irrationality and self-acceptance could predict dispositional forgiveness of self, other, and situation. No significant differences were found between sexes. These findings add empirical support to the hypotheses made by Milburn, suggesting that holding irrational beliefs impedes the process of forgiving, and one’s level of self-acceptance predicts one’s disposition to forgive.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the undergraduate students from the Fall 2015 Experimental Psychology I course who assisted in the initial data collection, analysis, and literature review: Emily Donahue, John King, Daniella Macrito, Brianna McCune, Christian McKiernan-Bittner, Kelly Poehailos, Evelyn Stumphauzer, Caileigh Walsh, and Cole Wencley.

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Correspondence to Milo Milburn.

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Porada, K., Sammut, S. & Milburn, M. Empirical Investigation of the Relationships Between Irrationality, Self-Acceptance, and Dispositional Forgiveness. J Rat-Emo Cognitive-Behav Ther 36, 234–251 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10942-017-0284-0

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Keywords

  • REBT
  • Forgiveness
  • Self-acceptance
  • Irrational beliefs
  • Global evaluation of human worth