THE ASSOCIATION BETWEEN TRAIT FORGIVENESS AND MENTAL HEALTH: THE MEDIATING EFFECT OF RUMINATION
Wei Li1*, Xiaofeng Yang2
1Associate Prof. Dr. Mrs., Inner Mongolia Normal University, PR China, firstname.lastname@example.org
2Associate Prof. Dr. Mr., Inner Mongolia Normal University, PR China, email@example.com
Trait forgiveness is a tendency to forgive others across a wide range of interpersonal circumstances. Though there is growing evidence to suggest that failure to forgive is closely related to indicators of poor mental health as depression, anxiety and anger, less attention has been paid to the relationship between trait forgiveness and mental health. In order to study the mechanism of the relationship of these two variables, we introduce rumination as a third variable, which has been proved to correlate negatively with state forgiveness and positively with mental health problems. We hypothesized that an individual’s mental health could be predicted by his/her trait forgiveness and rumination. We tested this hypothesis using a survey, in which five hundred and thirty-seven college students (175 males and 362 females) from five universities in China were investigated with Trait Forgiveness Scale (TFS), Ruminative Response Scale (RRS), Centre for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D), Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) and Trait Anger Scale (TAS). Descriptive statistics and inferential statistics were adopted to analyse the data of survey with SPSS 21. Results indicate that (a) significant gender difference exists in trait forgiveness, that is, trait forgiveness of female students is significantly higher than that of male students (t = -2.06, p< 0.05); (b) students in Low Forgiveness Group (the Lower 27%) have higher scores of depression, anxiety and anger than those in High Forgiveness Group (the Upper 27%)(t = -5.86, -6.07 and -7.48,respectively, ps < 0.001); (c) trait forgiveness negatively correlates with rumination (r = -0.21, p< 0.001), depression (r = -0.30, p< 0.001), anxiety (r = -0.31, p< 0.001) and anger (r = -0.34, p< 0.001), while rumination positively correlates with depression (r = 0.61, p< 0.001), anxiety (r = 0.55, p< 0.001) and anger (r = 0.36, p< 0.001); (d) among the predictive variables, trait forgiveness is the best one, which accounts for 8.7%,9.5% and 11.6% of the variation in depression, anxiety and anger; (e) rumination serves as a partial mediator variable between trait forgiveness and mental health. These results imply that although trait forgiveness and rumination both affect mental health, the affecting paths were different. Trait forgiveness may affect mental health directly, or indirectly through rumination.
Keywords: trait forgiveness, mental health, rumination, mediating effect
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