Research

Dr. Robert Enright has been conducting social science research on forgiveness and forgiveness education since 1985. His meticulous robert-enright 3validation of his scientific procedures has put him in the forefront of the science of forgiveness. Time magazine has called him “the forgiveness trailblazer.” The Los Angeles Times said Dr. Enright is “the guru of what many are calling a new science of forgiveness. “The Christian Science Monitor called Dr. Enright “the father of forgiveness research.”

By publicly sharing all of his research results in more than 100 publications, Dr. Enright helped expand the science of forgiveness into countless areas of study and experimentation.

 Dr. Enright’s Peer-Reviewed Empirical Studies
(click on the title to view the complete study)

  • Incest survivors
    The forgiveness group became emotionally healthier than the control group after 14 months. Differences between the groups were observed for depression, anxiety, hope, and self-esteem. The results were maintained in a 14-month follow-up.
  • Substance-dependent clients
    The forgiveness group became emotionally healthier than the control group, similar to the above study. The experimental participants’ need for drugs declined substantially, relative to the control group.
  • Cardiac patients
    Again, the experimental (forgiveness) group became emotionally healthier than the control group. Cardiac disease often involves a tightening of the arteries, especially when people are angry. After experiencing forgiveness therapy, those in the experimental group exhibited better functioning arteries, meaning that patients have a reduced risk of chest pains and sudden death.
  • Emotionally-abused women
    Results are similar to the above studies in terms of emotional health (decreased anxiety, depression, PTSD symptoms, and increased self-esteem).
  • Terminally-ill, elderly cancer patients
    After a 4-week intervention, the forgiveness group showed greater improvement in psychological health (less anger, more hopefulness toward the future) than the control group.
  • Postabortion men
    Following treatment, participants demonstrated a significant gain in forgiveness and significant reductions in anxiety, anger, and grief as compared with controls.

Research Topics Slide 2

For a comprehensive list of his books, journal articles, and other forgiveness materials, here is a Collection of Enright Forgiveness Research.