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Int J Psychophysiol. 2007 Aug;65(2):87-94. Epub 2007 Mar 14.

The impact of forgiveness on cardiovascular reactivity and recovery.

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  • 1Research and Development, Veterans Affairs NY Harbor Healthcare System, New York Campus, 423 East 23rd St. Room 13051-C, New York, NY 10010, United States.


The current study investigated the relationship between trait forgiveness and cardiovascular reactivity (CVR) and recovery in 99 normotensive participants (mean age=33.8). Cardiovascular parameters were obtained at 2-minute intervals during a 10-minute baseline period and a 20-minute recovery period, and at 1-minute intervals during a 4-minute anger recall task and a 4-minute serial subtraction task without harassment. Participants filled out a self-report measure of forgiveness prior to the laboratory procedure. Although forgiveness was not related to CVR, higher levels of trait forgiveness were predictive of lower diastolic blood pressure (DBP) at baseline (p<.02) and faster DBP recovery (p<.003). Findings suggest that forgiveness may be related to overall reductions in blood pressure levels and may aid in cardiovascular recovery from stress. The results also provide preliminary evidence that forgiveness may impact cardiovascular health not through a myocardial or vascular pathway, but through another mechanism.

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