Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Suzanne Freedman


Forgiveness--Study and teaching (Middle school)--Iowa--Waterloo;


Research has shown that forgiveness is a complex process and is vital to one’s well-being (Coyle & Enright, 1997; Enright, 1991; Freedman, 2007). There have been several research studies conducted with various populations (Freedman & Enright, 1996; Coyle & Enright, 1997; Gambaro, Enright, Baskin, & Klatt, 2008; Waltman et al., 2009) who have experienced deep, personal, and unfair hurts. Forgiveness has been found to be healing and beneficial to one’s overall psychological well-being in these studies. It is often assumed that forgiveness is a natural process, but this is not necessarily true. Forgiveness is something that can be taught (Freedman, 2007; Lin, Enright, & Klatt, 2011), and should be explicitly taught to early adolescents, as they are developmentally ready to understand interpersonal forgiveness (Freedman, 2007). In addition, forgiveness education would be very beneficial to early adolescents, as recent incidents, such as the increase in bullying, have indicated that early adolescents are experiencing deep, personal hurts and forgiveness would help them to cope with those hurts. However, even though there is research supporting the benefits of forgiveness education, it is still not being implemented in the school curriculum. More research is needed in this field if forgiveness education is to be included in the school curriculum. Therefore, the purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate the impact of forgiveness education on early adolescents to add to the existing research on the topic, as more research is needed. In this study, a quasi-experimental pre-test/post-test design was used and the Enright Process Model of Forgiveness was the basis for the education (Enright, 1991). The forgiveness education included lecture, small and large group discussions, as well as children’s literature with a focus on the foundational themes associated with forgiveness. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected and analyzed to determine the effectiveness of the forgiveness education

Date of Award



Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

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