Date of Award

5-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Howard R. Pollio

Committee Members

Mark A. Hector, Michael A. Olson, Sandra P. Thomas

Abstract

The present study analyzed participant descriptions of what it was like to resolve one’s hate toward someone or something. This experience was described as taking place in terms of a structure involving three phases: (1) When I Hated, (2) Resolution of Hate, and (3) After Hate. The first phase, When I Hated, was characterized by four themes: Power, Unjust, Significant, and Not Me. Phase 2, which concerned the Resolution of Hate, was described as a transition period defined by the themes of Choice, Separation/Distance, and Change in Perspective. The final phase, After Hate, was characterized by two themes: Burden Lifted and Release/Restoration. It appears from these results that as people learn to see the object of their hate from a different perspective they are able to resolve their hate and, in some cases, to restore a meaningful relationship to the object(s) of their former hate. The resolution of hate was often described in terms of collapse of one of the first three themes defining Phase 1; that is, the power dynamics of the situation changed and the initiating incident was now seen as either trivial or justified and the reason for continuing to hate was no longer experienced as significant. An understanding of how hate is resolved from a first person perspective has the potential for deepening our understanding of how hate is overcome and, on this basis, of leading to more effective interventions designed to help others resolve hate.

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