The developmental aspects of forgiveness

Natalie Brooks White Gaughf

Abstract

This study was designed to explore the development of forgiveness in children and early adolescents and the relationship between forgiveness and empathy. The sample consisted of 336 students between the ages of 9 and 15, attending grades 4 through 8. The students were administered the Enright Forgiveness Inventory for Children-Revised (EFIC-R) and the Index of Empathy for Children and Adolescents. Data was collected at 6-month intervals over the course of five administrations. The study consisted of longitudinal and cross-sectional components. Results suggested a significant relationship between forgiveness and empathy. Also, younger children may be more willing to forgive than adolescents, as it is measured by the EFIC-R. Researchers should continue to examine the psychometric properties of the EFIC-R, including research on the test-retest reliability of the scales and their construct validity.