Relation Between Lack of Forgiveness and Depression: The Moderating Effect of Self-Compassion

Psychol Rep. 2016 Dec;119(3):573-585. doi: 10.1177/0033294116663520. Epub 2016 Aug 10.


Although an association between lack of forgiveness and poor mental health is known, prior studies have reported mixed findings of the relationship between lack of forgiveness and depressive symptoms. In an attempt to explain the strength differences between lack of forgiveness and depressive symptoms, this study examined the moderating effect of self-compassion. A total of 311 Korean teachers (89 men, 222 women; M age = 39.3 year, SD = 9.1) were asked to complete self-report questionnaires, including the Korean versions of the Trait Forgivingness Scale, the Self-Compassion Scale, and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Moderated multiple regression was used for analysis, and a buffering interaction of self-compassion was discovered. Specifically, self-compassion moderated the relationship between lack of forgiveness and depression; the relationship was stronger for those low on self-compassion.

Keywords: Forgiveness; depression; moderator; self-compassion.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Forgiveness*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Concept*