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Relationship Between Forgiveness and Psychological and Physiological Indices in Cardiac Patients

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Abstract

Background

Research suggests that forgiveness is associated with better psychological and physical health and in particular cardiovascular functioning. Despite these findings, most forgiveness studies involve healthy participants.

Purpose

The current study assessed the psychological and physiological correlates of forgiveness in individuals with coronary artery disease (CAD).

Method

Self-reported forgiveness, perceived stress, anxiety, and depression, and physiological data, including triglycerides, total cholesterol, high- (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, were obtained from 85 hospitalized CAD patients.

Results

Higher levels of forgiveness were associated with lower levels of anxiety (p < 0.05), depression (p < 0.01), and perceived stress (p < 0.005) as well as lower total cholesterol to HDL and LDL to HDL ratios (both at p < 0.05) after controlling for age and gender. The psychological indices did not mediate the relationship between forgiveness and cholesterol ratios.

Conclusions

Results suggest that the psychological correlates of forgiveness are similar in cardiac patients and healthy individuals. Further, among cardiac patients, forgiveness may be associated with reduced risk for future cardiovascular events.

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Correspondence to Jennifer P. Friedberg.

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Friedberg, J.P., Suchday, S. & Srinivas, V.S. Relationship Between Forgiveness and Psychological and Physiological Indices in Cardiac Patients. Int.J. Behav. Med. 16, 205–211 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12529-008-9016-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12529-008-9016-2

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