عنوان مقاله [English]
One of the most important developmental stages of every human being is childhood, because during this period personality is formed. Children in the family learn to respect others’ rights, to pay attention to people, and to recognize social values and norms. Many studies have shown the adverse impacts of child abuse and the cognitive and emotional misbehavior on the child. Among the long-term psychological effects of physical abuse are major behavioral and psychological problems in adolescence and adulthood. Adults who recall maltreatment are significantly at risk of developing psychological trauma. Retrospective reports of maltreatment experiences up to age 12 have shown that at the age 18, these individuals have several psychiatric problems, including depression, anxiety, self-mutilation, alcohol dependence and conduct disorder. These results show a strong connection between childhood maltreatment and suffering from the mentioned disorders. Research has proven that early maladaptive schemas mediate the relationship between childhood maltreatment and adulthood psychological trauma. Although the tissue damage of physical abuse heals over time, its psychological effects often continue throughout a person's life and leave disastrous results. Some studies have shown that mental and physical abuse during childhood can lead to a decrease in mental well-being in adulthood. As a result, one of the things that needs to be considered is psychological well-being.
Reef and Case (2002) presented the theory of psychological well-being or positive mental health. According to the theory, psychological well-being consists of six factors: self-acceptance (having a positive attitude towards oneself), having a positive relationship with others (empathy and intimate relationship with others), autonomy (feel of independence and ability to resist social pressures), purposeful life (having purpose and meaning in life), personal growth (feel of continuous growth), and mastering the environment (ability to manage the environment). The theory has been widely used over the world. One of the most important methods that can be used for improving the various psychological aspects of adults is therapeutic forgiveness approach. Forgiveness therapy can be effectively used alone or combined with other approaches for changing an individual’s view towards others and managing emotions correctly in communication. Examining the Quranic verses and traditions in Islam also shows the emphasis on forgiveness and forgiving others’ mistakes. Forgiveness is a process in which a person moves past the wrong done to him and gives up his right to be angry about the hurtful act committed. The aim of forgiveness can be improving relationships, achieving inner peace, empathizing with the wronged person, or performing a valuable behavior. This study, then, sought to explore the impacts of implementing forgiveness therapy on the mental well-being of mothers experiencing abuse in childhood.
This quasi-experimental study used a pre-test-post-test design with a control group. Available sampling and random assignment were used for this study. The statistical population consisted of mothers visiting Ferdowsi University of Mashhad Counseling Center in the second quarter of 2018, who were subjected to behavioral, linguistic and psychological abuse during their childhood. The people were recruited through invitation to participate in the research project and after screening by means of mental well-being questionnaire (score less than 168), 30 of them were selected and randomly assigned to two groups of 15 people for the experiment and 15 people for the control group. Data were collected through Reef's psychological well-being questionnaire (Reef, 1989). The data collected from the pre-test and post-test questionnaires were analyzed using SPSS. The data were analyzed using the analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to infer the data to control the pre-test effect.
Descriptive results show that the average psychological well-being of the experimental group increased by 20.87 in the post-test phase, while no noticeable changes were observed in the control group from the pre-test to post-test phases. The results in the inferential statistics section, using covariance analysis, showed that the averages of the experimental group due to therapeutic forgiveness are significantly higher than the averages of the control group, which means that therapeutic forgiveness increases the psychological well-being of mothers who have been abused in childhood.
Discussion and Conclusion
Data analysis showed that therapeutic forgiveness increased the mental well-being of mothers abused in childhood. Forgiveness includes six psychological components: the absence of emotion, judgment, and negative behavior towards the wrongdoer, and the presence of emotion, judgment, and positive behavior towards the same mistake. Therapeutic forgiveness emphasizes the importance of the injured person not allowing the traumatic incident to continuously affect the his/her sense of self or ruin his personal relationships and go beyond the natural response to the injury. This is necessary for self-development and as well as for the emotional and moral development of the injured person. When forgiveness takes place completely, the person psychologically feels being healed. Forgiveness is considered an individual characteristic that is done to show a positive and socially friendly reaction to human and environmental errors. To increase mental health and improve resentment, which is necessary for a people’s communication and their emotional, spiritual and physical growth. In other words, forgiveness is an emotional transformation that is freely chosen, during which the desire to take revenge and avoid the wrongdoer decreases, and as a result, improves physical and mental health.