Date of Award

Fall 2011

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Michele Dillon


Using data from the General Social Survey (1998), Robert Wuthnow's Forgiveness Survey (1999), and ten in-depth interviews of members of an evangelical church (2010--11), I investigate three research questions: (1) How are age and religiosity related to people's attitudes toward forgiving others? (2) Do age and religiosity have the same effect on people's forgiving behaviors? (3) How do respondents' accounts of their own experiences forgiving others help explain and contribute to answers of the first two questions? I found that those with the highest levels of religiosity were most likely to have positive attitudes toward forgiving and to have engaged in a forgiving behavior. Older respondents were significantly less likely to have engaged in a forgiving behavior, but age had no effect on an individual's forgiving attitudes. I argue here that the value of forgiving others is learned through Christian religious involvement and affects a person's actual behaviors.