Fibromyalgia News Today, Dallas, Texas – Fibromyalgia patients who suffered abuse during childhood achieved “significant improvements in forgiveness, anger and overall fibromyalgia health” after a forgiveness intervention administered as part of a new study conducted by the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) and University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.
Fibromyalgia is a medical disorder characterized by widespread chronic musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, stiffness and numbness in certain parts of the body, headaches, sleep disorder
and mood alterations. Fibromyalgia can affect people’s ability to conduct simple daily tasks, compromising their quality of life. Women are usually more affected than men.
Medical researchers believe that childhood abuse or trauma may change the body’s response to stress, potentially leading to the development of fibromyalgia. In fact, people with fibromyalgia have a higher prevalence of childhood abuse compared to the U.S. population in general.
According to the study, clinicians may be able to help patients cope with fibromyalgia through a forgiveness intervention and the changes that it induces in the patient’s mental and physiological state.
The study is entitled “A Forgiveness Intervention for Women With Fibromyalgia Who Were Abused in Childhood: A Pilot Study.” It was published in the September 2014 issue—Vol. 1(3), pages 203-217—of the journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice®, a publication of the American Psychological Association. Study team leaders were Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the IFI who has been studying forgiveness for more than 29 years, and Yu-Rim Lee, UW-Madison Department of Educational Psychology.