Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Counseling and Human Development

Degree Program

Counseling and Personnel Services, PhD

Committee Chair

LeachMark M.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Woo, Hongryun

Committee Member

Pössel, Patrick

Committee Member

Shuck, Brad

Author's Keywords

self-forgiveness; depression; anxiety; Japan; adolescents


The literature of forgiveness has been proliferated the last two decades (Davis et al., 2015b), but it has primarily focused on forgiveness of others and the research of self-forgiveness has just increased in recent years (Worthington & Langberg, 2012). Woodyatt and Wenzel (2013a) proposed a process-oriented approach of self-forgiveness while considering three possible responses to the self (i.e., genuine self-forgiveness, pseudo self-forgiveness, and self-punitiveness) after interpersonally offending others. Self-forgiveness among children and adolescents and in Japanese culture was discussed. The association of self-forgiveness to depressive and anxiety symptoms, and culturally and developmentally unique factors (i.e., fear of negative evaluation and social support) were also explained. The purpose of the current study is to examine how each response of the process-oriented approach of self-forgiveness may predict depressive and anxiety symptoms among Japanese high school students and how culturally and developmentally unique factors are related to self-forgiveness and psychological symptoms. High school seniors (N = 151) in Japan participated in this survey study. The path analysis did not show that genuine self-forgiveness significantly predicts less anxiety and depressive symptoms, but self-punitiveness was significantly related to greater levels of those symptoms. Also, fear of negative evaluation was shown to have mediation effects on those relationships. Unexpectedly, those who have a high level of pseudo self-forgiveness tended to have less depressive symptoms, and social support positively predicted severe depressive symptoms. Clinical implications regarding psychological symptoms of Japanese adolescents are discussed, and limitations and future directions of self-forgiveness are explained while considering collectivistic culture and its effect on self-forgiveness.