The Impact of Forgiveness on PTSD Symptoms in Salvadoran Teachers Exposed to Community Violence
There is a well-established relationship between community violence (CV) exposure and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity. Few researchers, however, have examined the relationship between forgiveness and these variables both in the US and in Central America. As El Salvador ranks as one of the most violent countries in Central America, educators in this country may be particularly vulnerable to increasing levels of exposure to community violence and be at a higher risk to develop PTSD symptoms. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between CV exposure, PTSD, and forgiveness in 256 Salvadoran teachers in both public and private schools in El Salvador. Findings indicate that teachers were exposed to multiple violent events during their lifetime, and younger teachers in the study reported more violence exposure than middle aged and older participants. Older participants were more forgiving than younger participants. Results from a mediation analysis with bootstrapping indicate that the relationship between CV exposure and PTSD symptomatology was mediated by forgiveness. These results suggest that educators who were exposed to CV and who practiced forgiveness also reported fewer PTSD symptoms. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.
Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder, Forgiveness, teachers, Violence