Conceptualization of the forgiveness phenomenon in the interdisciplinary discourse

Keywords: forgiveness, depression, social cognition, empathy, social intelligence, revenge, unforgiveness


The aim of the study is to conceptualize forgiveness as a socio-psychological phenomenon, to identify the criteria for forgiveness by analyzing, systematizing, and generalizing the scientific views of local and foreign scientists on this phenomenon.
The empirical study used the Forgiveness Scale as Character Traits questionnaire by J. W. Berry, et. al; «Diagnosis of depression and anxiety» method by L. R. Derogatis, «Diagnosis of the level of empathic abilities» method by V. V. Boyko, research on social intelligence method by J. Guilford in the adaptation of O. S. Mikhailova.
It is concluded that the forgiveness phenomenon is a multidimensional and multilevel phenomenon that has a multicomponent structure and includes cognitive, affective, conative, and motivational components.
The criteria for forgiveness are as follows: 1) overcoming the negative emotions and judgments about the offender, that is the refusal of the offended person from anger and resentment, hatred, indignation, sadness; 2) replacement of negative feelings towards the offender with more neutral, and, finally, positive, particularly, tolerance, manifestations of empathy in the form of compassion, empathy, mercy (the benevolence towards the offender is a positive dimension of forgiveness); 3) refusal of vengeful behavior towards the offender; 4) overcoming the motivation to avoid the offender.
Forgiveness can perform different functions, can have different conditions of its development, different types, different modalities, levels of awareness, different subject meanings, different impacts on the person.
Thus, unforgiveness is a more complex construct than just the opposite of forgiveness. E.g., crimes against humanity are unforgivable.
The ability to forgive is determined by the development of a number of social cognition mechanisms (social and emotional intelligence, empathy for the offender).
Forgiveness is associated with reflexive mentality, consciousreworking, and restructuring of one’s attitude toward the offender and the situation of resentment.
The prospect of further research is seen in the identification of different socio-psychological factors of forgiveness depending on its subject content, level of awareness, types, and different modalities.

Author Biography

Svitlana Kravchuk, Institute for Social and Political Psychology, NAES of Ukraine

Senior Researcher of the Laboratory of Psychology of Communication

How to Cite
Kravchuk, S. (2021). Conceptualization of the forgiveness phenomenon in the interdisciplinary discourse. Scientific Studios on Social and Political Psychology, (47(50), 32-48.