Examining Self-Forgiveness, Depression, and Religious Strain in a Psychiatric Inpatient Sample

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The exploration of self-forgiveness (SF), religious strain (RS), and depression has received limited attention in psychiatric inpatient populations. I hypothesized that SF would be inversely associated with depression, RS, and religious fear and guilt. I also hypothesized that RS and religious fear and guilt would influence the relationship between SF and depression. Participants were psychiatric inpatients from a Michigan hospital (N = 248). Contrary to expectations, SF was positively associated with both depression and religious fear and guilt at admission and inversely associated with depression, RS, and religious fear and guilt at follow-up. The results indicated no moderation effect of RS and religious fear and guilt on SF and depression. Given these unexpected results, I conducted additional analyses with a single-item SF measure. Both SF measures were not associated at admission but were positively correlated at follow-up. The one-item SF measure was inversely associated with depression at three different time points. This single item SF measure may more accurately depict SF in an inpatient psychiatric population within 48 hours of admission due to the measure’s focus on SF rather than the other measure’s inclusion of more negatively valenced items.

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD)

First Advisor

Abernethy, Alexis D.

Document Type





Forgiveness; Forgiveness—Religious aspects—Christianity; Self-forgiveness; Mental illness; Religious strain; Depression, Mental


Clinical Psychology | Other Psychology | Quantitative Psychology


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