Forgiveness and Health. Scientific Evidence and Theories Relating Forgiveness to Better Health

Toussaint, Loren L., Worthington, Everett L., Williams, David R., Forgiveness and Health. Scientific Evidence and Theories Relating Forgiveness to Better Health, Springer Netherlands, 2015, 306 p. 

This volume offers an examination of the theory, methods and research utilized in understanding these connections. It considers trait and state forgiveness, emotional and decisional forgiveness, and interventions to promote forgiveness, all with an eye toward the positive effects of forgiveness for health and well-being. Finally, this volume considers key moderators such as gender, race, and age, as well as, explanatory mechanisms that might mediate links between forgiveness and outcomes.

 About the authors 

Loren Toussaint is a professor in the department of psychology at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He is a former visiting scientist at Mayo Clinic, the associate director of the Sierra Leone Forgiveness Project, and a consultant in the Department of Pastoral Care at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Dr. Toussaint’s research examines religious and spiritual factors, especially forgiveness, and how they are related to health and well-being. He directs the Laboratory for the Investigation of Mind, Body, and Spirit, and has mentored over 75 students studying in this laboratory (see:

Everett Worthington, Ph.D., is Commonwealth Professor of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is also a licensed Clinical Psychologist in Virginia. He has published over 35 books and about 400 articles and scholarly chapters, mostly on forgiveness, marriage and family, and religion and spirituality. Many of those study the overlap of the topic with physical and mental health (see

David R. Williams is the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health, African and African American Studies and Sociology at Harvard University. His prior academic appointments were at Yale University and the University of Michigan. The author of over 350 scientific papers on social influences on health, he directed a national study of forgiveness and health and has studied the association between religious involvement and health. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was ranked as one of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds in 2014.