Lack of forgiveness as a predisposing factor to depression: Comparison of lack of forgiveness in depressed, vulnerable to depression and non-vulnerable to depression subjects

Sara Ashkani, Zohreh Edalati Shateri, Behrooz Birashk


Introduction: Despite growing evidence regarding the relationship between depression and lack of forgiveness, and the belief on the negative effect of depression on the ability to forgive, there are still doubts about the causal relationships between them. Therefore, with respect to lack of forgiveness, this study compared depressed patients with general population that are vulnerable and non-vulnerable to depression. This study was conducted to clarify if lack of forgiveness can be accounted for, as a property which can make people be prone to depression.

Methods: In this study, 99 participants completed the Transgression Related Interpersonal Motivations Inventory. Among them, 33 were diagnosed with major depressive disorder (23 female and 10 male; mean age = 22.06; ±SD = 2.29 years). Also, 66 of the participants were selected among the general population and half of them were vulnerable to depression (19 female and 14 male; mean age = 23.39; ±SD = 4.87 years) and the other half were not (20 female and 13 male; mean age = 23.42; ±SD = 1.6 years).

Results: The results showed a significant difference in the motivation of avoidance and revenge in the three groups (F (4, 190) = 27.8, p < .0005; Wilk's Λ = 0.39, partial η2 = 0.37). Pairwise comparisons indicated that there is a statistically significant difference between the three groups with regards to revenge motivations (p < 0.005); but there was no difference between the depressed and vulnerable subjects.

Conclusion: The current study provided reliable evidence that lack of forgiveness may be regarded as a predisposing factor to depression. In this regard, revenge and avoidance motivation can be assumed as anticipating factors to depression, and are also influenced by depressed symptom.  


Keywords: Causality, Depression, Forgiveness, Risk Factors

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