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Forgiveness and well-being in mothers of children with disabilities.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the correlations between forgiveness and well-being in mothers of children with disabilities, considering the moderating role of contextual factors.

BACKGROUND: Well-being in mothers of children with disabilities is associated with coping with the numerous and unique challenges of motherhood. These are often accompanied by a sense of guilt, harm, and shame. Forgiveness can play an important role in lowering these negative emotions.

METHOD: The research was conducted with 174 mothers of children with disabilities, using the Emotional Forgiveness Scale; the Decision to Forgive Scale; and the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire. Contextual factorssuch as: severity of transgression, apology, and the quality of the relationship with the offender were also measured. Moderation analyses were used to examine the associations between the variables.

RESULTS: Decisional and emotional forgiveness correlated positively with well-being. Contextual factors moderated only the relationship between emotional forgiveness and well-being. Severity of the transgression and apology had a moderating effect in the case of the Presence of positive emotions, and relationship quality in the case of Reduction of negative emotions.

CONCLUSIONS: The well-being of mothers of children with disabilities is associated with both decisional and emotional forgiveness. Contextual factors are an important moderator of the relationship between emotional forgiveness and well-being in these mothers.

IMPLICATIONS: Information about the importance of the relationship between forgiveness and well-being can be used to design therapeutic programs and programs supporting mothers of children with disabilities in coping with difficulties and achieving well-being. Such programs can incorporate, for example, forgiveness training.

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