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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2006 Oct;74(5):920-9.

The effects of forgiveness therapy on depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress for women after spousal emotional abuse.

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Department of Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706-1386, USA.


Emotionally abused women experience negative psychological outcomes long after the abusive spousal relationship has ended. This study compares forgiveness therapy (FT) with an alternative treatment (AT; anger validation, assertiveness, interpersonal skill building) for emotionally abused women who had been permanently separated for 2 or more years (M = 5.00 years, SD = 2.61; n = 10 per group). Participants, who were matched, yoked, and randomized to treatment group, met individually with the intervener. Mean intervention time was 7.95 months (SD = 2.61). The relative efficacy of FT and AT was assessed at p < .05. Participants in FT experienced significantly greater improvement than AT participants in depression, trait anxiety, posttraumatic stress symptoms, self-esteem, forgiveness, environmental mastery, and finding meaning in suffering, with gains maintained at follow-up (M = 8.35 months, SD = 1.53). FT has implications for the long-term recovery of postrelationship emotionally abused women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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