Forgiving the self and physical and mental health correlates: a meta-analytic review

J Couns Psychol. 2015 Apr;62(2):329-35. doi: 10.1037/cou0000063.


Self-forgiveness has been conceptualized as a coping strategy that may improve health and well-being. To better understand the functions of self-forgiveness, this meta-analysis examines the correlates of self-forgiveness associated with physical and mental health. For physical health, across 18 samples and 5,653 participants, the correlation was .32. For psychological well-being, across 65 samples and 17,939 participants, the correlation was .45. To augment this primary focus on physical and mental health correlates, we estimated the relationships between self-forgiveness and specific mental health constructs and relationship outcomes. Implications for future basic and applied research on self-forgiveness are discussed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Forgiveness*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*