Scientists from the National Research University Higher School of Economics found that people experiencing chronic stress are more inclined to forgive, while people affected by everyday stress are less inclined to do so.
The research is published in the journal Clinical Psychology and Special Education and was conducted by Sofya Nartova-Bochaver et al.
Authenticity—the ability “to be oneself”—helps people cope with different life trials.
The ability to forgive—to overcome the feeling of offense by the person who caused harm or difficult life circumstances—also helps in maintaining psychological well-being.
Despite the importance of these phenomena for personality psychology studies, their correlation has virtually gone unstudied.
In the study, the team examined the link between personality authenticity (the ability to be oneself) and the ability to forgive under different levels of stress.
They tested 140 young men and women aged 16 to 40.
The respondents belonged to different cohorts in terms of stress they were experiencing.
The study showed that people with chronic stress demonstrate the highest levels of authenticity.
The relatively well-off patients show average results, while the everyday stress cohort returned the lowest levels. The same trends work for the ability to forgive.
Researchers explain the high inclination to forgive among representatives of the chronic stress cohort to the post-traumatic growth effect.
Despite the fact that these people face very severe life conditions—they depend physically on other people; their normal bodily sensations have changed, and many capabilities have been lost—they are more likely to discover their real purpose in life and the most important values.
They feel “more like themselves” and are able to disregard the multiple misfortunes and imperfections in life by means of forgiveness in order to move on.
The researchers also looked into how authenticity correlates with the ability to forgive depending on stress levels.
They concluded that an ability to forgive really contributes to feeling authenticity, but at different levels of stress and under different types of stress the factors that cause it may change.
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