Counseling and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Date of Award


Degree Level





St. Mary's University (San Antonio, Tex.)

Document Type


First Advisor

Ratliff, Dan


Researchers have begun elucidating the complex relationship between religion and forgiveness. This study examined the effects of religious measures on forgiveness beyond the variance explained by empathy, anger, and apology. Utilizing hierarchical multiple regression, this study investigated the predictive power of religious coping and Catholic religiosity on state forgiveness after controlling for the effects of the strongest known predictor variables: state empathy, state anger, and received apology. A discriminant function analysis allowed this researcher to conceptualize the religious variables further by comparing religious coping with Catholic religiosity. Parishioners from local Catholic churches were invited to participate in an online survey consisting of the positive and negative religious coping subscales of the Brief Religious Coping Scale (Brief RCOPE), Catholic faith practices, Batson's Empathy Adjectives, Anger scale, Apology assessment, Transgression-Related Interpersonal Motivations Inventory--18 (TRIM-18), and a demographic questionnaire.

Discriminant function analysis results indicated that among the religious variables Catholic religiosity was the strongest predictor of membership in the practicing Catholic group. Unexpectedly, hierarchical multiple regressions results showed Catholic religiosity demonstrated a small and significant effect size (f2 = .018) while positive and negative religious coping were not significant. The controlled variables (state empathy, state anger, and received apology) had greater predictive power for state forgiveness than the religious variables. These findings suggest that Catholic faith practices helped Catholic participants forgive interpersonal transgression.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.