Understanding the Nature and Attributes of Unforgiveness among Females: A Thematic Analysis
Although forgiveness has been reported to benefit women in many ways, there is little research on their unforgiveness. The study aims to understand the nature, causes and consequences of young women's unforgiveness. Using a qualitative research design, 18 young women aged 20 to 40 years were chosen through purposive sampling. The data were collected through an interview protocol based on previous research on unforgiveness. The interview contents were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim and analysed using the thematic analysis method. Data analysis revealed three themes of unforgiveness: conceptualization of unforgiveness, the multiplicity of causality of unforgiveness, and mixed consequences of unforgiveness. Participants described it as a series of experiences of hate, anger, emotional stagnation, and an altered perception of the offender with active and passive traits. The severe, immoral, and unethical nature of transgressions, misconduct, cheating and harassment were the primary causes of unforgiveness. They described both positive and negative consequences of unforgiveness. Holding forgiveness leads to happiness, contentment, and improved adjustment while also leading to negative emotional experiences, such as broken relationships, and physical and psychological problems. Contrary to previous research, unforgiveness has been described as a more complex phenomenon caused by a variety of personal and interpersonal factors. In addition to negative outcomes, it also leads to some positive outcomes such as reduced fear of re- victimization, and increased adaptability. The findings may have implications for theory, research, practice and policy.
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