Date of Award

8-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Warren H. Jones

Committee Members

Deborah Welsh, Ronald McFadden, John Lounsbury

Abstract

The primary focus of this dissertation was to investigate the degree to which Blacks and Whites are able to forgive their own and other ethnic groups for those who have offended them. In relation to forgiveness, furthermore, this project examined psychological and emotional variables such as anxiety, anger, racism, and forgiving personality among the participants. Four-hundred and eighty two participants were recruited for this study. Personal narrative accounts were obtained from participants who were asked to describe an offensive act committed by another person(s) with specifying details of the offender. Findings indicate that when controlling for Forgiving Personality and rated seriousness of the personal narratives, White respondents significantly rated the offenses of White offenders more seriously for which they were angrier than offenses of Black offenders. While the trend was the same for Black participants; Blacks significantly rated offenses of Black offenders more serious for which they were angrier than that of White offenders. Furthermore, Black males were the most forgiving for incidents in which they described as offensive more so than Black females, White males, and White females. White participants, reported higher levels of anxiety in relation to the incident for which they described significantly more so than Black participants. Females reported higher levels of anxiety in relation to the incident for which they described significantly more so than males. Black females reported higher levels of anger in relation to the incident for which they described significantly more so than White females. White males reported significantly higher levels of anger in relation to the incident for which they described more so than Black males. The author concludes that there is a profound difference being generally forgiving as a person and actually forgiving someone who has wronged you. In addition, there are emotional consequences in relation to forgiving someone who has transgressed against another.

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