Women forgive more readily than men

Sunday, February 20, 2011

LONDON - Parents forgive more than children, while women forgive more readily than men, says a new study.

“This study . . . shows us what reasons people have for forgiving men and women,” said Maite Garaigordobil, study co-author and psychology professor at at the University of Basque country.

“A decisive factor in the capacity to forgive is empathy, and women have a greater empathetic capacity than males,” said Carmen Maganto, study co-author and Garaigordobil’s counterpart at Basque, the journal Revista Latinoamericana de Psicologa reports.

Children believe that “one forgives with time”, while parents point to reasons such as “remorsefulness and forgiving the other person” and “legal justice.”

The study authors say that parents who have forgiven most over the course of their lives have an increased capacity to forgive “in all areas,” according to a Basque statement.

Parents and children use similar definitions of forgiveness. Not bearing a grudge, reconciliation and understanding-empathy are the terms most used by both groups to define forgiveness.

However, there are greater differences between men and women. Both see “not bearing a grudge” as the best definition of forgiveness, but men place greater importance on this characteristic.

The study, based on survey of 140 participants (parents and children aged between 45 and 60, and 17 and 25, respectively), highlights two key conditions for a person to be forgiven.

One is for them to “show remorse” and the second is for the person who has been offended “not to bear a grudge.”

Experts say the family environment plays a key role in transmitting ethical values.

Filed under: Society

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