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The relationship between being mindful and forgiving

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The relationship between being mindful and forgiving
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Johns, Keri Nicole
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Forgiveness ( lcsh )
Adultery ( lcsh )
Adultery ( fast )
Forgiveness ( fast )
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theses ( marcgt )
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Being forgiving has been associated with multiple benefits for individuals as well as for relationships. This study is focused on the forgiveness of infidelity in an intimate relationship, which is conceptualized as a three stage process: impact, finding meaning, and moving on. Studies have shown that mindfulness is related to general forgiveness, but mindfulness has not been examined in relation to forgiveness of a major betrayal. Empathy and anger were also examined as possible mediators of the proposed relationship between mindfulness and forgiveness. A sample of 94 participants who reported to have had a partner that has committed infidelity while in a serious relationship responded via self report to an anonymous online survey. This study ultimately found that the relationships between aspects of mindfulness and aspects of forgiveness are complex. Specifically, when controlling for affair variables such as how sorry the partner was and the length of the affair, mindfulness skills of acting with awareness and being nonjudging are associated with an individual being lower in the beginning stages of forgiveness, which is the processing of the initial shock and desire to understand the infidelity. Additionally, the mindfulness skill of being nonreactive is related to the ability to forgive and move on. Some unexpected results occurred that need further exploration, such as an explicit endorsement of "forgiveness" being inversely related to some aspects of mindfulness. This may be explained by social desirability of the word forgiveness or a possibility of false forgiveness. While mindfulness was related to both empathy and anger, the mediation hypothesis was not supported, suggesting that mindfulness has a unique effect on forgiveness apart from the individuals' empathy and anger. Future research should examine these relationships more closely to gauge whether a mindfulness-based intervention could be of benefit to individuals who have experienced infidelity.
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Includes bibliographical references.
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by Keri Nicole Johns.

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Full Text
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BEING MINDFUL AND FORGIVING
by
Keri Nicole Johns
B.A., University of Tennessee, 2008
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Liberal Arts and Sciences
2012


This thesis for the Master of Arts
Degree by
Keri Nicole Johns
has been approved
by
Elizabeth Allen, Chair
Joan Bihun
Kevin Everhart
Date: February 7th, 2012


Johns, Keri N. (M. A., Psychology)
The Relationship Between Being Mindful and Forgiving
Thesis directed by Assistant Professor Elizabeth Allen
ABSTRACT
Being forgiving has been associated with multiple benefits for individuals as well as
for relationships. This study is focused on the forgiveness of infidelity in an intimate
relationship, which is conceptualized as a three stage process: impact, finding
meaning, and moving on. Studies have shown that mindfulness is related to general
forgiveness, but mindfulness has not been examined in relation to forgiveness of a
major betrayal. Empathy and anger were also examined as possible mediators of the
proposed relationship between mindfulness and forgiveness. A sample of 94
participants who reported to have had a partner that has committed infidelity while in
a serious relationship responded via self report to an anonymous online survey. This
study ultimately found that the relationships between aspects of mindfulness and
aspects of forgiveness are complex. Specifically, when controlling for affair variables
such as how sorry the partner was and the length of the affair, mindfulness skills of
acting with awareness and being nonjudging are associated with an individual being
lower in the beginning stages of forgiveness, which is the processing of the initial


shock and desire to understand the infidelity. Additionally, the mindfulness skill of
being nonreactive is related to the ability to forgive and move on. Some unexpected
results occurred that need further exploration, such as an explicit endorsement of
forgiveness being inversely related to some aspects of mindfulness. This may be
explained by social desirability of the word forgiveness or a possibility of false
forgiveness. While mindfulness was related to both empathy and anger, the mediation
hypothesis was not supported, suggesting that mindfulness has a unique effect on
forgiveness apart from the individuals empathy and anger. Future research should
examine these relationships more closely to gauge whether a mindfulness-based
intervention could be of benefit to individuals who have experienced infidelity.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.
Approved: Elizabeth Allen


DEDICATION
I dedicate this thesis to my parents, Stuart and Laura Johns, who encouraged me to
persevere and achieve academic success.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
My thanks to my advisor, Dr. Elizabeth Allen, for her contribution and support to my
research, and to the members of my committee for their participation in developing
this project. I also would like to thank Dean Daniel Howard for the awarding me the
Deans Fund for Excellence to support my research financially.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Tables...........................................................viii
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION............................................... 1
Background and Significance..........................1
Hypotheses...........................................8
2. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS................................10
Procedures...........................................10
Participants.........................................11
Measures.............................................11
3. RESULTS....................................................17
Relation between Mindfulness and Forgiveness......... 17
Characteristics of Infidelity Related to Forgiveness.21
Relation between Mindfulness and Forgiveness Controlling for
Infidelity Variables.................................22
Relation between Forgiveness and Empathy and Anger... 29
Relation between Mindfulness and Empathy and Anger...30
Relation between Mindfulness and Forgiveness Testing for
Mediation............................................ 31
4. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS................................. 33
APENDIX
A. MEASURES................................ 39
REFERENCES....................................................... 45
vii


LIST OF TABLES
Table
1. Pearson Correlations among aspects of Forgiveness and Mindfulness.... 20
2. Regression analysis of FFMQs Describe as a predictor for FI Stage 1
controlling for Affair variables...................................... 23
3. Regression analysis of FFMQs Describe as a predictor for FI Stage 2
controlling for Affair variables.......................................24
4. Regression analysis of FFMQs Act Aware as a predictor for FI Stage 1
controlling for Affair variables.......................................25
5. Regression analysis of FFMQs Act Aware as a predictor for FI Stage 2
controlling for Affair variables.......................................26
6. Regression analysis of FFMQs Nonjudge as a predictor for FI Stage 1
controlling for Affair variables.......................................27
7. Regression analysis of FFMQs Nonjudge as a predictor for FI Stage 2
controlling for Affair variables.......................................28
8. Regression analysis of FFMQs Nonreact as a predictor for FI Stage 3
controlling for Affair variables.......................................28
9. Regression analysis of FFMQs Nonreact as a predictor for the MOSFS
Benevolence subscale controlling for Affair variables..................29
10. Pearson Correlations among aspects of Forgiveness and Empathy and
Anger..................................................................30
11. Pearson Correlations among aspects of Mindfulness and Empathy and
Anger
viii
31


CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION
Background and Significance
Mindfulness can be described as intentionally focusing ones attention on the
experience occurring at the present moment in a nonjudgmental or accepting way
(Baer & Krietemeyer, 2006, p. 3). In regards to feelings, being mindful entails that a
person acknowledges and attends to his or her current emotional or physical feelings
and accepts these feelings. Attention is given without judgment and with the
knowledge that the feelings are transient. One who is mindful has greater mental
clarity and the ability to see situations objectively (Gethin, 1998). Baer et al. (2006)
describes five facets of mindfulness. The first factor is an individuals nonreactivity
to his or her inner experience. The second factor is the individuals observation or
attention to sensations, thought, feelings, and perceptions. An individuals ability to
act with awareness and concentration rather than performing daily activities
thoughtlessly is the third factor of mindfulness. The skill of an individual to label and
describe their feelings, sensations, thoughts, and perceptions with words is the fourth
factor of mindfulness. The fifth factor of being mindful is being nonjudgmental of
ones experience.
The beneficial effects of being mindful have been studied in relation to
numerous constructs. For example, a mindfulness-based stress reduction program
1


resulted in increased quality of life, decreased bodily pain, and decreased
psychological distress for chronic pain patients, with the amount of home meditation
practice directly related to the amount of improvement these patients experienced
(Rosenzweig, Greeson, Reibel, Green, Jasser, & Beasley, 2010). As another example,
Dekeyser, Raes, Leijssen, Leysen, and Dewulf (2008) found that increased
mindfulness was related to positive interpersonal interaction, such as increased
empathy and lower social anxiety.
Trait mindfulness (i.e., the general dispositional mindfulness of an individual)
has also been studied in relation to couple functioning, finding that (a) trait
mindfulness is positively related to relationship satisfaction for both men and women,
(b) men experience less anger and hostility when exposed to relationship conflict if
the woman in the relationship is higher in trait mindfulness, and (c) trait mindfulness
predicts lower levels of anger, hostility, and discussion anxiety post conflict (Barnes,
Brown, Krusemark, Cambell, & Rogge, 2007). State mindfulness, defined as the
individuals mindfulness in a specific moment of time, has also been found to be
positively related to post conflict discussion of love and commitment (Barnes et al.,
2007).
Mindfulness-based therapies are currently being evaluated in their
effectiveness with couples therapy and as a relationship enhancement tool. Carson,
Carson, Gil, and Baucom (2004) found positive outcomes as a result of a
2


mindfulness-based relationship enhancement program designed to improve already
healthy intimate relationships. The program appeared to improve marital satisfaction
and decrease marital stress, and increase the individuals relaxation, self-efficacy to
cope with stress, and acceptance of his or her partner. Most couples in this study
adhered to the treatment and the results were correlated with adherence, or how
strictly the couples followed the treatment plan (Carson et. al, 2004). These findings
are promising for the efficacy of mindfulness-based therapies with intimate
relationships; however, only one study has explored mindfulness interventions for
couples which see their relationship as being distressed. The use of a mindfulness-
based therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), was examined for use
with distressed intimate relationships by Peterson, Eifert, Fiengold, and Davidson
(2009). This case study adapted ACT for use with two couples who reported to be in
distressed relationships. One couple expressed high levels of conflict, low levels of
marital satisfaction, and joint decision making problems. The second couple
expressed strain on their relationship due to the amount of time spent on each career.
The therapy resulted in increased marital adjustment and satisfaction for both couples,
as well as reduced psychological distress. This result suggests that mindfulness is
beneficial to distressed intimate relationships.
One area which has not received much empirical attention is the influence of
mindfulness on forgiveness of a major betrayal in an intimate relationship. The
3


definition of forgiveness is debated in the literature, but forgiveness is generally
characterized by relinquishing ill feelings of revenge toward another person, whether
or not the relationship is continued (Cosgrove & Konstam, 2008). Forgiveness of a
major betrayal is defined by Gordon and Baucom (2003) as a three stage process. The
first stage is the impact stage when a person learns they have been betrayed. As
previous assumptions about the relationship are violated, persons in this stage are
likely to seek details about the event in an attempt to explain the event, feel out of
control and lash out toward their partner, and withdraw from the relationship in self-
preservation. The second stage is considered the meaning stage. Persons in this
stage feel an increased sense of control, try to discover why the betrayal occurred and
understand the partners behavior, and create new assumptions about the relationship.
The last stage is recovery. Persons in this stage consolidate their understanding of
the event and are able to move on. The betrayed individual no longer punishes their
partner and relinquishes absolute negative attitudes toward them (that is, is able to see
positives and negatives about the partner). During this stage, the betrayed individual
also decides whether to continue in the relationship or not.
The premise of the current study is that mindfulness may aid in this process of
forgiveness. A more mindful individual may be able to accept their feelings of
betrayal without reaction and be objective in their observation. This nonjudgment and
nonreactivity is likely to lead the individual through the stage process more quickly
4


because the individual is less likely to be stuck in the intense negative affect and
judgmental cognitions that characterize the first stage.
Forgiveness of a betrayal is important whether the relationship is continued or
not because of its benefits physically and mentally on the forgiver. Forgiveness is
associated with physical and mental well-being for the individual (Wilson, Milosevic,
Carroll, Hart, & Hibbard, 2008) via stress reduction (Worthington & Scherer, 2004).
Specifically, state forgiveness is related to lower blood pressure and heart rate,
whereas trait forgiveness of others is associated with lower rates of depression.
Additionally, being forgiven for a transgression is associated with increasing positive
emotions and decreasing negative emotions (Worthington, Witvliet, Pietrini, &
Miller, 2007).
Forgiveness is also healthy for relationships. A willingness to forgive and be
forgiven is one of the top ten most important characteristics contributing to a long-
term marriage (Fenell, 1993). Husbands endorse its importance more so than wives,
but both agree on its importance in relationship longevity (Fenell, 1993). Similarly,
forgiveness is associated with relationship closeness and commitment, which helps
facilitate reconciliation following a transgression and predict relationship longevity
(Tsang, McCullough, & Fincham, 2006).
Few explorations on the relationship between mindfulness and forgiveness
have been made in the literature. However, a related association was examined in a
5


study on the effects of meditation in college students (Oman, Shapiro, Thoresen, &
Plante, 2008). It was found that meditation interventions can result in a significant
increase in general forgiveness of others, as well as a significant decrease in stress
compared to the control groups. Although this mindfulness-based approach is
supported in increasing general forgiveness, there has not yet been an examination of
the relationship between mindfulness and partner specific forgiveness for couples
who have experienced a major betrayal.
This proposed relationship between mindfulness and forgiveness may be
mediated by emotions such as empathy and anger. Some studies have examined the
relationship between mindfulness and emotions, including empathy and anger.
Dekeyser et al. (2008) discovered that mindful observation was related to empathic
abilities in interpersonal interactions. Mindful relating in intimate relationships was
explored by Wachs and Cordova (2007). Mindful relating is defined as being mindful
or present-focused when relating to others. Mindful relating allows a person to
respond to others in a more responsive and relationally healthy way as a result of
being more accepting and less experientially avoidant. Mindfulness as a naturally
occurring trait is positively associated with marital quality and emotional repertoire. It
was found in Wachs and Cordovas study (2007) that the emotional repertoire skills
that are positively related to mindfulness are empathic concern, perspective-taking,
control of anger expression, and self-soothing of anger. Mindfulness is negatively
6


related to personal distress, hostile anger expression and actions. Furthermore, it was
discovered that those who are more mindful are better at identifying their emotions
and communicating them to others. Mindful individuals are also more successful in
regulating their impulses of anger reactivity. Block-Lerner, Adair, Plumb, Rhatigan,
and Orsillo (2007) also cite several studies which support Wachs and Cordovas
conclusions, and also found that mindfulness is significantly related to empathic
concern and perspective taking.
When we apply this to the case of forgiveness for a betrayal, these empathy
and emotion regulation abilities may prove advantageous in moving quickly through
the first stage of forgiveness, which is the initial impact of the betrayal and disruption
of beliefs expectations of the partner and the relationship. The role of empathy and
anger in forgiveness has been explored in the literature. Fincham, Paleari, and
Regalia (2002) examined the pathway to forgiveness of a transgression. Their study
showed that empathy and negative reactive emotions, such as anger, sadness, and
nervousness, are directly related to forgiveness (that is, higher empathy and lower
negative reactions), and attributions are indirectly related to forgiveness through these
emotional reactions. Another study found a similar result for the relationship between
empathy, anger, and forgiveness during domestic legal disputes. Specifically, this
study found that empathy, perspective taking, and anger are significant predictors of
forgiveness of a transgression; empathy is the best predictor of forgiveness, as
7


measured by low negative emotional responses to the transgression (Welton, Hill, &
Seybold, 2008). This has implications for a therapeutic intervention to increase
empathy and decrease anger to move an individual through the stages of forgiveness.
This study proposes to examine the connections between mindfulness,
empathy, anger, and forgiveness. A relationship has been found between mindfulness
and general forgiveness, but it has not been examined in intimate partner specific
forgiveness; that is, forgiveness toward the partner regarding a specific event.
Furthermore, a model of the relationship of mindfulness and forgiveness with
empathy and anger as mediators has not been tested. This study seeks to explore this
proposed relationship between mindfulness and forgiveness in a population of
individuals betrayed by partner infidelity and examine empathy and anger as likely
mediators of this relationship.
Hypotheses
Hypothesis 1: It is hypothesized that mindfulness will predict greater forgiveness of
the partner for the infidelity. Specifically, mindfulness will positively predict stage 3
forgiveness scores and negatively predict stage 1 forgiveness scores (based on the
stages of the Gordon et al. (2003) model of forgiveness); moreover, mindfulness will
positively predict a general measure of offense-specific forgiveness. This relationship
between mindfulness and forgiveness will be first tested in an uncontrolled model,
8


but the relationship will also be tested controlling for factors such as the intensity of
the infidelity, length of the infidelity, time since the infidelity, time since the
discovery of the infidelity, how sorry the partner was for the infidelity, and how much
effort the partner made to repair the relationship.
Hypothesis 2: It is hypothesized that both empathy and anger will be related to both
forgiveness and mindfulness.
Hypothesis 3: It is hypothesized that empathy and anger will mediate the relationship
between mindfulness and forgiveness.
9


CHAPTER
2. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Procedures
Participants were adults whose partners have committed infidelity and who
have agreed to participate in anonymous online social science research. The sample
(N=94) was recruited nationally through the Study Response Project, which is an
online service that facilitates behavioral, social, and organizational survey research.
Study Response has the ability to recruit participants via email and keep anonymity,
while allowing a direct payment. Individuals signed up with Study Response were
randomly selected and emailed screening questions from Study Response asking if
they: were over 18, had a partner that had an affair while in a relationship with them,
and were willing to participate in an anonymous study entitled Feelings and
Relationships. A sample of individuals answering yes to the above questions were
then randomly selected by Study Response and directed via email invitation from
Study Response to an anonymous online survey on survey monkey. Once at the
survey, participants were guided through an informed consent with four questions
ensuring the individual understood the consent before being allowed to participate. If
an individual failed a consent comprehension question, they were given a second
chance to review the informed consent and answer the question correctly. If the
participant answered the question incorrectly again, the survey would direct them to a
10


page stating they were unable to participate. Once answering the consent questions
correctly, the participants were directed to the survey. The measures were presented
in the survey in the order they are introduced below to attempt to eliminate bias. Two
quality control questions were placed in the survey to ensure that the participant was
thoughtfully reading and answering the questions. For example, one of these
questions was: For quality control, please select never or very rarely true. If the
respondent selected a different response to this question, it would be considered
wrong and suggestive of inattentive or random responding. Any survey with a wrong
answer for the quality control questions was filtered out of analyses. Participation was
compensated with a fifteen dollar Amazon gift card. All data was collected at a single
time point.
Participants
Approximately 49% of respondents were male. Participants ranged in age
from 22 to 69, with a mean age of 42 years old. Fifty-one percent of participants were
Caucasian, 30% were Hispanic, 16% were African American, 4% were Native
American, and 3.2% were Asian. Over half (57%) of participants were no longer in a
relationship with the partner that committed the infidelity.
11


Measures
Partner infidelity: In the case of multiple partners with affairs, we chose to
focus on one target partner due to the research questions which focus on forgiveness
toward a given person. Respondents were prompted with Recall that you have told
us that a current or past partner had an affair while in a relationship with you. Now
we have some questions about that partner. If multiple partners have had affairs,
choose the one that hurt the most. Participants were then asked to rate the severity
of this partners infidelity, from 1 = minor transgression to 10 = extremely serious
violation or betrayal. The mean rating for the severity of the infidelity was an eight
on this scale from one to ten. To assess duration of infidelity, participants were asked
To the best of your knowledge, how long did your partners affair last? (If your
partner has had multiple affairs, try to total the time across all these affairs).
Participants were then asked the approximate month and year when they first
discovered their partners infidelity, and when it ended (or if it was ongoing).
Participants were asked how long they had been together when the partner engaged in
infidelity. Finally, participants were asked to rate the amount of effort the partner put
forth to repair the relationship, and to show that they were sorry on a scale from 1 =
no effort to 5 = a lot of effort.
Mindfulness: Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ; Baer, Smith,
Hopkins, Krietemeyer, & Toney, 2006) was used as the measure of mindfulness. The
12


FFMQ (Appendix A displays measure items sorted by subscales) is designed to assess
mindfulness of an individual in their everyday life. The factors of mindfulness
include: (1) Observe, (2) Describe, (3) Act Aware, (4) Nonjudge, and (5) Nonreact.
Item response is a Likert scale from one to five: 1= never or very rarely true and 5 =
very often or always true. The Observe subscale is composed of eight items
measuring an ability to observe or notice ones thoughts, feelings, and experiences
(Chronbachs a= .88, M= 3.55, SD = .76). The Describe subscale is composed of
eight items measuring an ability to describe ones thoughts, feelings, and experiences
(Chronbachs a= .86, M= 3.63, SD = .78). The Act Aware subscale is composed of
eight items measuring an ability to act with awareness and focus, rather than on
autopilot or while distracted (Chronbachs a= .94, M= 3.27, SD = .94). The
Nonjudge subscale is composed of eight items measuring an ability to withhold
judgment of ones thoughts, feelings, and experiences (Chronbachs a= .92, M=
3.13, SD = .94). The Nonreact subscale is composed of seven items measuring an
ability to withhold an immediate reaction to ones thoughts, feelings, and experiences
(Chronbachs a= .80, M= 3.24, SD = .68). The total FFMQ scale is composed of the
five subscales (Chronbachs a= .90,M= 3.37, SD = .51). All subscales and scales
were created by averaging all of the items in that scale or subscale (reverse scoring
13


items as needed first) such that a higher score always denotes higher levels of the
construct for these scales.
Forgiveness: Forgiveness was assessed with two different scales, the
Forgiveness Inventory (FI; Gordon & Baucom, 2003) and the Marital Offense-
Specific Forgiveness Scale (MOSFS; Paleari, Regalia, & Fincham, 2009). The FI was
created to assess the stage of forgiveness an individual is in. For this study, this scale
has been adapted to specify the partners infidelity as the betrayal. It is comprised of
three subscales, each representing the stages of forgiveness. Item response is a Likert
scale from one to five: l=almost never and 5 = almost always. The first stage
(impact) scale is composed of eight items measuring ones shock and emotional
instability about the infidelity and the partner (Chronbachs a= .85, M =2.77, SD =
.85). The second stage (meaning) is composed of eight items measuring ones effort
to discover information about the infidelity and a beginning to reexamine
expectations the relationship (Chronbachs a= .79, M= 3.09, SD = .79). The third
stage (recovery) is composed of seven items measuring ones ability to control their
emotions about the partner and the infidelity and ones sense of moving on
(Chronbachs a= .77,M= 3.49, SD = .75).
The second scale used to assess forgiveness was the Marital Offense-Specific
Forgiveness Scale (MOSFS; Paleari, Regalia, & Fincham, 2009). The MOSFS was
14


created to assess an individuals forgiveness of specific transgression of a spouse. For
this study, this scale has been adapted to specify the partners infidelity as the specific
offense. Item response is a Likert scale from one to six: 1 = strongly disagree and 6 =
strongly agree. This scale has two subscales: Benevolence and Resentment-
Avoidance. The Benevolence subscale is composed of four items measuring ones
overt forgiveness of the infidelity offense and efforts to rebuild the relationship
(Chronbachs a= .83,M= 3.19, SD = 1.24). The Resentment-Avoidance subscale is
composed of six items measuring the amount of ones resentment towards the partner
and efforts to avoid the partner (Chronbachs a= .87, M = 3.75, SD= 1.15). The total
MOSFS scale is composed of both subscales (Chronbachs a= .83, M= 3.23, SD =
.94), with resentment-avoidance items reverse scored. Higher scores on the total score
thus indicate greater forgiveness.
Empathy: The Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI; Davis, 1980) was used to
measure empathy. Item response is a Likert scale from one to five: 1 = does not
describe me well and 5 = describes me very well. The Empathic Concern and
Perspective Taking subscales were used in this study. The Empathic Concern
subscale is composed of seven items measuring ones emotional sensitivity and
ability to feel others misfortune (Chronbachs a= .88, M= 3.68, SD = .80). The
Perspective Taking subscale is composed of seven items measuring ones ability to
15


understand different perspectives or sides of an issue (Chronbachs a= .81, M= 3.55,
SD = .71). The subscales compose the total IRI (Chronbachs a= .90,M= 3.62, SD =
.68).
Anger: The Trait Anger Scale (TAS; Speilberger, 1988) was used to measure
an individuals general anger. Item response is a Likert scale from one to five: 1 =
never or very rarely true and 5 = very often or always true. This scale is composed of
fifteen items (Chronbachs a= .94, M= 2.87, SD = .85).
16


CHAPTER
3. RESULTS
Relation between Mindfulness and Forgiveness
The initial analyses examined were correlations between the main variables of
interest: Mindfulness (FFMQ) and Forgiveness (FI and MOSFS). Contrary to
hypotheses, the overall scales did not relate as anticipated. That is, the general overall
FFMQ score did not positively predict Stage Three FI scores or MOSFS Benevolence
scores, although it did negatively predict Stage One and Two FI scores and MOSFS
Resentment-Avoidance scores. Recall that the FFMQ has 5 subscales, the FI has 3
subscales, and the MOSFS has 2 subscales. Examining correlations on the subscale
level, it appeared that certain aspects of mindfulness are related to different aspects of
forgiveness (details to follow). Because of the emerging patterns between the
different subscales of mindfulness and the subscales of forgiveness, analyses were
examined at the subscale level.
It is possible to conceptually group the forgiveness scales into two forgiveness
constructs: Process and Moving On. The Process construct consists of FI Stage
One, FI Stage Two, and MOSFS Resentment-Avoidance. Example items on these
scales include: I feel overwhelmed by confusing emotions about my partners
17


infidelity, I want to find out why my partner committed infidelity, and I would
like to hurt my partner in the same way he/she hurt me. The overall sense emerging
from these items is cognitive or emotional turbulence that could characterize impact
or processing of an infidelity event. Overall, Process can be described as the initial
process of shock and emotional instability because of the betrayal.
In addition to the apparent conceptual overlap among these scales, MOSFS
Resentment-Avoidance was positively correlated to FI Stage One (r = .76,/><001)
and FI Stage Two (r = .30, /;< 01), FI Stage One and FI Stage Two were also
positively correlated (r = ,61,/K.OOl). As I will describe below, in addition to being
positively related to one another, these scales tended to be related to the some of the
mindfulness subscales in a similar way (see Table 1, to be discussed further).
Because of the apparent overlap among items (in a face validity manner) and these
empirical relations between scales, they will be discussed together in the results and
conclusions as the Process construct of forgiveness.
I will label the second forgiveness construct as Moving On. Moving On is
composed of FI Stage Three and the MOSFS Benevolence. Example items on these
scales include: Understanding my partners infidelity is more important to me than
blaming him/her, I feel my emotions about my partners infidelity are under my
control, and Since my partner's infidelity, I have done my best to restore my
18


relationship with her/him. The FI Stage Three scale items reflect emotional stability
about the infidelity, partner, and relationship, while the MOSFS Benevolence scale
items express more overt forgiveness and efforts to repair the relationship. These two
scales were positively correlated (r = .58, p < .001). Together they form this
construct, which can be described as feeling resolution, forgiveness and having more
emotional stability about the relationship and infidelity.
FI Stage Three very much distinguished itself from FI Stages 1 and 2 in terms
of the way it related to the mindfulness subscales (Table 1). MOSFS Benevolence
was more ambiguousin some ways relating to the mindfulness subscales as the
Process variables did, but in other ways relating to the mindfulness subscales as FI
Stage Three did. While I have grouped MOSFS Benevolence with FI Stage Three
conceptually, this issue will be kept in mind and discussed below.
Clearly, Process and Moving On are not unique ways to construct
forgivenessthey are in fact perfectly in line with Gordons conceptualization of the
forgiveness process. The only unique aspect here is separating the MOSFS scales and
grouping them with the FI scales, such that MOSFS Benevolence and FI Stage Three
are considered as one aspect of forgiveness (Moving On), and MOSFS Resentment-
Avoidance, FI Stage 1, and FI stage 2 are considered another aspect of forgiveness
(Process), for the purposes of interpreting the data.
19


Table 1 displays the patterns of correlations of the forgiveness scales with the
FFMQ subscales. The scales considered to reflect Process (FI Stage One, FI Stage
Two, and MOSFS Resentment-Avoidance) were inversely related to two FFMQ
subscales: Act Aware and Nonjudge. FI Stage One and Two are also inversely related
to FFMQs Describe. However, surprisingly, these first two FI scales were also
positively related to the FFMQ Observe scale.
The scales considered to reflect Moving On (FI Stage Three and MOSFS
Benevolence) showed a somewhat different pattern. These scales were positively
correlated with FFMQs Nonreact subscale. Contrary to the hypothesized
relationship, MOSFS Benevolence was inversely related to the FFMQs Describe,
Act Aware, and Nonjudge subscales.
Table 1. Pearson Correlations among aspects of Forgiveness and Mindfulness
Observe Describe Act Aware Nonjudge Nonreact
Process Stage 1 .21* -.26* _ 63*** 60*** .07
Stage 2 29** -.20* _ 44*** 53*** .14
Resentment- Avoidance .09 -.14 _ ^ ^ *** 42*** .03
Moving on Stage 3 .17 .00 .00 .02 4Q***
Benevolence .19 -.26* -.22* _ 29** 29**
*p < 0.05, **p < .01, ***p < .001
20


Characteristics of Infidelity Related to Forgiveness
Following this initial examination of the relationship between mindfulness
and forgiveness, I sought to establish some basic relationships between aspects of the
infidelity and forgiveness. The characteristics that were associated with higher
Process scores (i.e., the earlier stages of forgiveness, such that higher scores may
indicate more present emotional and cognitive turmoil regarding the affair) were
more effort from the partner to repair the relationship (stage 1 r = .35, p < .01; stage 2
r=.51,p < .001), the more the partner showed being sorry for the affair (stage 1 r =
.24, p < .05; stage 2 r = .49, p < .001), and a shorter time period since discovery of the
affair (stage 1 r = -32,p < .01; stage 2 r = -32, p< .01). A longer partners affair was
only related to higher FI Stage One score (r = .23, p < .05), indicating more turmoil.
The MOSFS Resentment-Avoidance scale did not show significant relationships with
these aspects of the affair experience.
The characteristics related to more Moving On variables (FI Stage Three and
MOSFS Benevolence) were more effort from the partner to repair the relationship
(Stage 3 r = .35,/K.01; MOSFS Benevolence r = .55,/K.001) and the more the
partner showed being sorry for the affair (Stage 3 r = ,43,/K.OOl; MOSFS
Benevolence r = .52,/><001). Additionally, the less severe the infidelity (r = -.35,
p<.01) and the shorter the time since the discovery of the infidelity (r = -,26,/K.05),
21


the higher an individual rated in MOSFS Benevolence. As expected from the nature
of the items on the Benevolence scale (explicit forgiveness and relationship
restoration), individuals had higher Benevolence scores if they are still together with
the partner that had the affair, t{85) = 4.68, /K,001 with a mean difference of 1.14.
Individuals also had higher FI Stage Three if they are still together with the partner,
t(85) = 2.67,/K.01, but with a lower mean difference of .41.
Relation between Mindfulness and Forgiveness Controlling for Infidelity Variables
As noted above, some characteristics of the affair, such as length of the affair,
were related to some forgiveness variables. In order to isolate the relationships
between mindfulness and forgiveness controlling for these affair variables,
hierarchical regressions were conducted testing the relationship between the FFMQ
subscales and the forgiveness scales (FI and MOSFS) controlling for these affair
variables. This was only done for those cases where aspects of the affair were show to
be related to aspects of forgiveness. Tables 2 through 7 display the results between
FFMQ subscales (Describe, Act Aware, and Nonjudge) and FI Stage 1 and 2 when
controlling for the affair variables associated with the first two FI stages (time since
discovery, effort from the partner to show that he/she is sorry and wants to repair the
relationship, and length of the affair). As displayed in Table 2 and 3, the relationship
between FFMQ Describe and FI Stage One and Two was no longer significant when
22


accounting for these variables. However, FFMQ Act Aware (Table 4 and 5) and
FFMQ Nonjudge (Table 6 and 7) were still significant negative predictors of FI Stage
One and Two after controlling for these affair variables.
Additionally, when controlling for these variables for Moving On variables,
FFMQ Nonreact was still a significant positive predictor of FI Stage Three (Table 8),
but not a significant predictor of MOSFS Benevolence (Table 9).
Table 2. Regression analysis of FFMQs Describe as a predictor for FI Stage 1
controlling for Affair variables
B SEB P
Step 1
Affair Discovery -.11 .05 -.25*
Partner Sorry -.19 .12 -.31
Partner Effort .31 .11 .54**
Affair Length .15 .06 .24*
Step 2
Affair Discovery -.10 .05 -.22*
Partner Sorry -.16 .12 -.26
Partner Effort .28 .11 .49*
Affair Length .15 .06 .25*
FFMQ Describe -.16 .10 -.15
Note: R2 = .24 for Step 1, AR2 = .02 for Step 2 (p= .12).
*p < 0.05, **p < .01, ***p < .001
23


Table 3. Regression analysis of FFMQs Describe as a predictor for FI Stage 2
controlling for Affair variables
B SEB P
Step 1
Affair Discovery -.03 .04 -.07
Partner Sorry -.04 .10 -.41
Partner Effort .33 .10 .60**
Step 2
Affair Discovery -.02 .04 -.05
Partner Sorry -.03 .11 -.05
Partner Effort .31 .10 .58**
FFMQ Describe -.07 .09 -.07
Note: R2 = .33 for Step 1, AR2 = .01 for Step 2 (p= .43).
*p < 0.05, **p < .01, ***p < .001
24


Table 4. Regression analysis of FFMQs Act Aware as a predictor for FI Stage 1
controlling for Affair variables
B SEB P
Step 1
Affair Discovery -.11 .05 -.25*
Partner Sorry -.19 .12 -.31
Partner Effort .31 .11 .54**
Affair Length .15 .06 .24*
Step 2
Affair Discovery -.07 .04 -.16
Partner Sorry -.12 .10 -.18
Partner Effort .20 .10 .35*
Affair Length .02 .06 .04
FFMQ Act Aware -.46 .08 _ ^ ^ ***
Note: R2 = .24 for Step 1, AR2 = .20 for Step 2 (p < .001).
*p < 0.05, **p < .01, ***p < .001
25


Table 5. Regression analysis of FFMQs Act Aware as a predictor for FI Stage 2
controlling for Affair variables
B SEB P
Step 1
Affair Discovery -.03 .04 -.07
Partner Sorry -.04 .10 -.41
Partner Effort .33 .10 .60**
Step 2
Affair Discovery -.01 .04 -.03
Partner Sorry .02 .10 .04
Partner Effort .26 .09
FFMQ Act Aware -.27 .07 22***
Note: R2 = .33 for Step 1, AR2 = .09 for Step 2 (p < .001).
*p < 0.05, **p < .01, ***p < .001
26


Table 6. Regression analysis of FFMQs Nonjudge as a predictor for FI Stage 1
controlling for Affair variables
B SEB P
Step 1
Affair Discovery -.11 .05 -.25*
Partner Sorry -.19 .12 -.31
Partner Effort .31 .11 .54**
Affair Length .15 .06 .24*
Step 2
Affair Discovery -.08 .04 -.18
Partner Sorry -.13 .11 -.20
Partner Effort .20 .10 .35*
Affair Length .04 .06 .06
FFMQ Nonjudge -.42 .08 43***
Note: R2 = .24 for Step 1, AR2 = 18 for Step 2 (p < .001).
*p < 0.05, **p < .01, ***p < .001
27


Table 7. Regression analysis of FFMQs Nonjudge as a predictor for FI Stage 2
controlling for Affair variables
B SEB P
Step 1
Affair Discovery -.03 .04 -.07
Partner Sorry -.04 .10 -.41
Partner Effort .33 .10 .60**
Step 2
Affair Discovery -.01 .04 -.03
Partner Sorry .04 .09 .07
Partner Effort .23 .09 .42*
FFMQ Nonjudge -.35 .07 _ 42***
Note: R2 = .33 for Step 1, AR2 = .17 for Step 2 (p < .001).
*p < 0.05, **p < .01, ***p < .0
Table 8. Regression analysis of FFMQs Nonreact as a predic controlling for Affair variables
B SEB P
Step 1
Partner Sorry .30 .11 .55**
Partner Effort -.07 .10 -.14
Step 2
Partner Sorry .23 .10 .42*
Partner Effort -.04 .10 -.09
FFMQ Nonreact .33 .10 .30**
Note: R2 = .18 for Step 1, AR2 = .08 for Step 2 (p < .01).
*p < 0.05, **p < .01, ***p < .001
28


Table 9. Regression analysis of FFMQs Nonreact as a predictor for the MOSFS
Benevolence subscale controlling for Affair variables
B SEB P
Step 1
Affair Discovery .01 .07 .01
Partner Sorry .17 .16 .19
Partner Effort .28 .16 .34
Affair Severity -.12 .06 .20*
Step 2
Affair Discovery .01 .07 .01
Partner Sorry .12 .16 .14
Partner Effort .30 .16 .35
Affair Severity -.12 .06 .19*
FFMQ Nonreact .23 .16 .13
Note: R2 = .36 for Step 1, AR2 = .02 for Step 2 (p= .17).
*p < 0.05, **p < .01, ***p < .001
Relation between Forgiveness and Empathy and Anger
Different aspects of forgiveness were also associated with both empathy and
anger. As shown in Table 10, Process variables (FI Stage One, FI Stage Two, and
MOSFS Resentment-Avoidance) was positively associated with TAS (trait anger).
Additionally, IRI Empathic Concern subscale was negatively correlated with FI Stage
One.
29


In terms of relations with Moving On variables, only IRI Empathic Concern
was negatively associated with MOSFS Benevolence (Moving On), an unexpected
result.
Table 10. Pearson Correlations among aspects of Forgiveness and Empathy and
Anger
IRI IRI
Empathic Perspective TAS
Concern Taking
Process Stage 1 -.21* -.11 53***
Stage 2 .03 .13 .31**
Resentment- Avoidance -.17 -.12
Moving On Stage 3 -.03 .20 -.10
Benevolence -.31** -.06 .20
*p < 0.05, **p < .01, ***p < .001
Relation between Mindfulness and Empathy and Anger
Table 3 displays the results of the correlation analyses between FFMQ
subscales and IRI Empathic Concern, IRI Perspective Taking, and TAS. TAS (trait
anger) was inversely related and IRI Empathic Concern was positively related to the
FFMQ Describe, Act Aware, and Nonjudge subscales. IRI Perspective Taking was
positively correlated with all five of the mindfulness subscales.
30


Table 11. Pearson Correlations among aspects of Mindfulness and Empathy and
Anger
IRI Empathic Concern IRI Perspective Taking TAS
Observe .11 .36*** .15
Describe .25* 29** -.22*
Act Aware .31** 27** 66***
Nonjudge .28** .28** _ 63***
Nonreact -.04 27** .00
*p < 0.05, **p < .01, ***p < .001
Relation between Mindfulness and Forgiveness Testing for Mediation
Recall that the original hypotheses focused on the anger and empathy
mediating relationships between mindfulness and forgiveness. The above results
sections demonstrate the complexity of patterns of relationships among variables, and
that, in many cases, the basic relationships needed to test mediation are not supported.
For those variables where the basic relationships needed to test mediation are present,
I conducted mediation analyses. Specifically, the FFMQs Act Aware and Nonjudge
were significant predictors of Process variables (FI Stage One, FI Stage Two, MOSFS
Resentment-Avoidance), the Act Aware and Nonjudge FFMQ subscales were
31


significantly related to the TAS, and the TAS is also significantly related to all three
Process variables. Thus, mediation could be tested as to whether anger mediated the
relationship between Act Aware/Nonjudge and the three Process variables. Of these
tests of mediation, the only one that showed evidence of a mediating effect was
FFMQs Nonjudge and MOSFS Resentment-Avoidance. Specifically, the relationship
between FFMQs Nonjudge and MOSFS Resentment-Avoidance (c = -.56,p < .05)
becomes a weaker non-significant relationship (c = -.21, p = .13) when controlling
for TAS. Using Kennys mediation macro program (2009), there were significant
indirect effects and the percentage of the total effect mediated is 62.5% (Kenny,
2011).
32


CHAPTER
4. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
Firstly, Process and Moving On tended to be characterized by different
aspects of the infidelity. As expected, more Process (i.e., more emotional instability
and shock about the infidelity) was characterized by a shorter time since the
discovery of the affair, and a longer length of affair. More Process was also related to
more effort from the partner to repair the relationship and the more the partner
showed that he or she was sorry for the infidelity. It may be that the more the survey
participant is trying to seek meaning (Stage Two) and is more upset and shocked
(Stage One) for an affair, the more the partner needs to show regret and repair efforts.
This relationship does not seem to be explained by the severity of the affair, as this
variable was surprisingly not related to Stage 1 or 2.
Moving On tended to also be characterized by more effort from the partner to
repair the relationship and the more the partner showed being sorry for the affair. The
severity of the infidelity appeared to only be related to MOSFS Benevolence,
suggesting that the partner is more willing to endorse the term forgive and make an
effort to restore the relationship if the affair was less severe. Another unexpected
relationship found was that the shorter the time since discovery of the infidelity was
33


also related to MOSFS Benevolence scale. This may be an effect of the MOSFS
Benevolences scale items declaring forgiveness, which is socially desirable, but the
participant may still have the initial emotional turmoil considering its relation to
Stage One and Two discussed above.
With respect to mindfulness, Process forgiveness (FI Stage One, FI Stage
Two, and MOSFS Resentment-Avoidance) was shown to be related to FFMQs Act
Aware and Nonjudge after controlling for affair variables. Consistent with the general
hypothesis of mindfulness relating to progress through the stages of forgiveness, the
higher the individual scores in these aspects, the lower the individual is in these two
stages (e.g., the less emotional instability and shock he or she is feeling about the
affair). These aspects of mindfulness are also significantly related to lower general
anger in the individual. This suggests that these aspects of mindfulness (acting with
awareness and being nonjudging of thoughts, emotions, and experiences) may aid in
helping the individual to deal with the initial feelings of shock and violation of their
expectations of the partner in the relationship. The correlations are slightly lower for
the second stage than the first stage, which helps supports this belief that being
mindful in these two ways is more likely to help deal with the initial feeling of
betrayal.
34


The positive association of the FFMQ Nonreact with Moving On (FI Stage
Three and MOSFS Benevolence) also supports the hypothesized relationship between
mindfulness and forgiveness. The FFMQ Nonreact subscale encompasses an ability
to step back from the emotion or experience and pause and not immediately react.
This particular aspect of mindfulness may enable an individual to endorse the items
of the FI Stage Three, which embody being in control of the emotions about the
partner and affair, as well as seeing multiple perspectives of the affair and the partner.
Similarly, the ability to be nonreactive may also facilitate the individual to endorse
MOSFS Benevolence items that state forgiveness and an attempt to restore the
relationship. In summary, nonreactivity may aid in a process of moving on from the
infidelity, whether with the partner or not.
However, there were a number of unexpected results. One of these was the
inverse relationship between MOSFS Benevolence with the FFMQ Describe, Act
Aware, and Nonjudge. Similarly, MOSFS Benevolence was positively correlated with
TAS and inversely correlated with IRI Empathic Concern. This unforeseen result
may be explained by the items of the MOSFS Benevolence subscale. FI Stage Three
was highly correlated to the Benevolence scale, but it does not show this same result.
While the Benevolence subscale contains items using the word forgiveness and
asking about attempts to repair the relationship, the Stage Three scale does not.
35


Instead it refers to a moving past the infidelity event. The term forgive is very
loaded and people have different definitions of what it means. It is also a socially
desirable term. Therefore, it is very likely that an individual may claim forgiveness
while still harboring underlying negative feelings and resentment [a common
situation Gordon (1998) has labeled false forgiveness]. Specifically, individuals
that endorse these mindfulness scales may be less likely to claim the benevolence
forgiveness items when they are experiencing the ambiguity and emotional turmoil of
the process. These individuals may be less likely to endorse forgiveness per se, if
forgiveness as measured in the benevolence scale could actually represent a
superficial cover of mixed feelings and emotional instability. That is, if one is
mindful, perhaps they are more accepting of their conflicting emotions and the longer
process to moving on, and do not rush to forgive and restore. In addition to this
possible explanation of the surprising relation to mindfulness and anger, the IRI
Empathic Concern subscale contains items that may be suggestive of a sensitive
(soft hearted) person that may be highly affected emotionally by a betrayal and
thus, less likely to endorse MOSFS Benevolence items of forgiveness.
Another possible factor that may affect the results with Benevolence is
whether or not the individual is still with the partner. If this individual is no longer
with the partner, they are unlikely to endorse these items of forgiveness and
36


attempting to repair the relationship. As discussed in the results, participants that are
currently in a relationship with the partner that committed the infidelity scored
significantly higher on the MOSFS Benevolence scale. As 57% of the individuals
endorsed no longer being with the partner that had the affair, the majority would
endorse this item lower. Further testing using being in the relationship or not as a
possible moderator is required.
A second unanticipated result is the positive correlation between the Observe
subscale of the FFMQ with FI Stages One and Two (part of Process forgiveness).
One possible reason for this is that the observe subscale items are all about how much
a person is aware or focused on their feelings or sensations. Whereas the Describe,
Act Aware, and Nonjudge subscales are about more than just being aware of the
thoughts or feelings, they encompass an ability to understand the feelings and
sensations; to be able to describe them accurately while not judging them, and be able
to focus their attention on what they are physically or mentally doing. The Observe
subscale is just a mere observation of the fact that sensations are happening. It may be
that someone in either of the first two stages, which are about the emotional
instability and then a beginning of the desire to understand the infidelity, will be very
aware of the many emotions they are feeling not only about the infidelity, but about
37


everything going on in their life while going through these stages, even while less
able to mindfully process the emotions.
While the mediation hypothesis was not supported on the whole, there is still
reason to note that mindfulness is related to both a persons general empathy and
anger and aspects of their forgiveness of a specific offense. There are important
clinical implications that mindfulness may be very psychologically healthy for this
reason. As shown in this study and several others, mindfulness appears to help
individuals cope with negative emotions and their reactivity to them. Mindful
individuals may be more apt to be able to cope with events such as infidelity. Because
empathy and anger were not supported as mediating this relationship, mindfulness
may have a unique ability to aid in the forgiving process separate from its effects on
emotion regulation.
38


APPENDIX A
Five Factor Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) (39 items)
1 2 3 4 5
never or very rarely sometimes often very often or
rarely true true true true always true
Observe items:
1. When Im walking, I deliberately notice the sensations of my body
moving.
2. When I take a shower or bath, I stay alert to the sensations of water on my
body.
3. I notice how foods and drinks affect my thoughts, bodily sensations, and
emotions.
4. I pay attention to sensations, such as the wind in my hair or sun on my
face.
5. I pay attention to sounds, such as clocks ticking, birds chirping, or cars
passing.
6. I notice the smells and aromas of things.
7. I notice visual elements in art or nature, such as colors, shapes, textures, or
patterns of light and shadow.
8. I pay attention to how my emotions affect my thoughts and behavior.
Describe items:
1. Im good at finding words to describe my feelings.
2. I can easily put my beliefs, opinions, and expectations into words.
3. Its hard for me to find the words to describe what Im thinking.
(reversed)
4. I have trouble thinking of the right words to express how I feel about
things, (reversed)
5. When I have a sensation in my body, its difficult for me to describe it
because I cant find the right words, (reversed)
6. Even when Im feeling terribly upset, I can find a way to put it into words.
7. My natural tendency is to put my experiences into words.
8. I can usually describe how I feel at the moment in considerable detail.
39


Act with Awareness items:
1. When I do things, my mind wanders off and Im easily distracted,
(reversed)
2. I dont pay attention to what Im doing because Im daydreaming,
worrying, or otherwise distracted, (reversed)
3. Iam easily distracted, (reversed)
4. I find it difficult to stay focused on whats happening in the present,
(reversed)
5. It seems I am running on automatic without much awareness of what
Im doing, (reversed)
6. I rush through activities without being really attentive to them, (reversed)
7. I do jobs or tasks automatically without being aware of what Im doing,
(reversed)
8. I find myself doing things without paying attention, (reversed)
Nonjudge items:
1. I criticize myself for having irrational or inappropriate emotions,
(reversed)
2. I tell myself I shouldnt be feeling the way Im feeling, (reversed)
3. I believe some of my thoughts are abnormal or bad and I shouldnt think
that way. (reversed)
4. I make judgments about whether my thoughts are good or bad. (reversed)
5. I tell myself that I shouldnt be thinking the way Im thinking, (reversed)
6. I think some of my emotions are bad or inappropriate and I shouldnt feel
them, (reversed)
7. When I have distressing thoughts or images, I judge myself as good or
bad, depending what the thought/image is about, (reversed)
8. I disapprove of myself when I have irrational ideas, (reversed)
Nonreact items:
1. I perceive my feelings and emotions without having to react to them.
2. I watch my feelings without getting lost in them.
3. When I have distressing thoughts or images, I step back and am aware
of the thought or image without getting taken over by it.
4. In difficult situations, I can pause without immediately reacting.
5. When I have distressing thoughts or images, I feel calm soon after.
6. When I have distressing thoughts or images I am able just to notice them
without reacting.
7. When I have distressing thoughts or images, I just notice them and let
them go.
40


Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) (14 items)
1 2 3
Does not
describe me
well
4
5
describes me
very
well
Empathic Concern items:
1. I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me.
2. Sometimes I DONT feel very sorry for other people when they are having
problems, (reversed)
3. When I see someone being taken advantage of, I feel kind of protective
towards them.
4. Other people's misfortunes DO NOT usually disturb me a great deal,
(reversed)
5. When I see someone being treated unfairly, I sometimes DONT feel very
much pity for them, (reversed)
6. I am often quite touched by things that I see happen.
7. I would describe myself as a pretty soft-hearted person.
Perspective Taking items:
1. I sometimes find it difficult to see things from the other guy's point of
view, (reversed)
2. I try to look at everybody's side of a disagreement before I make a
decision.
3. I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things
look from their perspective.
4. If I'm sure I'm right about something, I DONT waste much time listening
to other people's arguments, (reversed)
5. I believe that there are two sides to every question and try to look at them
both.
6. When I'm upset at someone, I usually try to put myself in his shoes for a
while.
7. Before criticizing somebody, I try to imagine how I would feel if I were in
their place.
41


Trait Anger Scale (TAS) (15 items)
12 3 4
almost sometimes often almost
never always
1. I have a fiery temper.
2. I am quick tempered.
3. I am a hotheaded person.
4. I get annoyed when I am singled out for correction.
5. It makes me furious when I am criticized in front of others.
6. I get angry when Im slowed down by others mistakes.
7. I feel infuriated when I do a good job and get a poor evaluation.
8. I fly off the handle.
9. I feel annoyed when Im not given recognition for doing good work.
10. People who think they are always right irritate me.
11. When I get mad, I say nasty things.
12.1 feel irritated.
13.1 feel angry.
14. When I get frustrated, I feel like hitting someone.
15. It makes my blood boil when I am pressured.
Marital Offense-Specific Forgiveness Scale (10 items)
1 2 3 4 5 6
strongly disagree somewhat somewhat agree strongly
disagree disagree agree agree
Benevolence items:
1. Although she/he hurt me, I definitely put my partners infidelity aside so
that we could resume our relationship.
2. Since my partner's infidelity, I have done my best to restore my
relationship with her/him.
3. I forgave her/him completely, thoroughly.
4. I soon forgave her/him.
42


Resentment-Avoidance items:
1. Since my partner committed infidelity, I have been less willing to talk to
her/him.
2. Since my partner committed infidelity, I get annoyed with her/him more
easily.
3. I make my partner feel guilty for his/her infidelity.
4. I would like to hurt my partner in the same way he/she hurt me.
5. Because of his/her infidelity, I find it difficult to be loving toward her/him.
6. I still hold some grudge against my partner because of his/her infidelity.
Forgiveness Inventory (FI) (23 items)
Stage 1:
1. Our relationship feels out of balance as a result of my partners infidelity.
2. I feel overwhelmed by confusing emotions about my partners infidelity.
3. My emotions about my partners infidelity change from day to day.
4. I am too numb to feel any emotion about my partners infidelity.
5. I find myself withdrawing from interaction with my partner.
6. I keep trying to even the score between my partner and me.
7. I feel like I want to punish my partner for his/her infidelity.
8. I want to make my partner pay for his/her infidelity.
Stage 2 items:
1. I want to find out why my partner committed infidelity.
2. I am examining my views about what I should realistically expect from
my partner.
3. I spend my time convincing myself that I am still a good person in spite of
my partners infidelity.
4. I am learning that many different factors caused my partners infidelity.
5. My emotions about my partners infidelity are becoming clearer.
6. I want to ask my partner for all the details about his/her infidelity.
7. I find myself collecting information about my partners infidelity.
8. I find myself trying to be a better partner.
1
almost
never
2
3
4
5
almost
always
43


Stage 3 items:
1. Understanding my partners infidelity is more important to me than
blaming him/her.
2. I can see both the positive and negative aspects of our relationship.
3. Iam able to look at both good and bad qualities of my partner.
4. I feel I am ready to put my partners infidelity behind me.
5. Iam able to let go of my anger about my partners infidelity.
6. I feel my emotions about my partners infidelity are under my control.
7. I know how I feel about continuing our relationship.
44


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THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BEING MINDFUL AND FORGIVING by Keri Nicole Johns B.A., University of Tennessee, 2008 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Liberal Arts and Sciences 2012

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This thesis for the Master of Arts Degree by Keri Nicole Johns has been approved by Elizabeth Allen, Chair Joan Bihun Kevin Everhart Date: February 7th, 2012

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Johns, Keri N. (M.A., Psychology) The Relationship Between Being Mindful and Forgiving Thesis directed by Assistan t Professor Elizabeth Allen ABSTRACT Being forgiving has been associated with multiple benefits for individuals as well as for relationships. This study is focused on the forgiveness of infidelity in an intimate relationship, which is conceptualized as a three stage process: impact, finding meaning, and moving on. Studies have shown that mindfulness is related to general forgiveness, but mindfulness has not been ex amined in relation to forgiveness of a major betrayal. Empathy and anger were also examined as possible mediators of the proposed relationship between mindfulne ss and forgiveness. A sample of 94 participants who reported to have had a part ner that has committed infidelity while in a serious relationship responde d via self report to an anonymous online survey. This study ultimately found that the relationsh ips between aspects of mindfulness and aspects of forgiveness are complex. Specifically, when controlling for affair variables such as how sorry the partne r was and the length of the affair, mindfulness skills of acting with awareness and being nonjudging ar e associated with an individual being lower in the beginning stages of forgivene ss, which is the processing of the initial

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shock and desire to understand the infide lity. Additionally, the mindfulness skill of being nonreactive is related to the ability to forgive and move on. Some unexpected results occurred that need further explor ation, such as an ex plicit endorsement of “forgiveness” being inversely related to so me aspects of mindfulness. This may be explained by social desirability of the wo rd forgiveness or a possibility of false forgiveness. While mindfulness was related to both empathy and anger, the mediation hypothesis was not supported, suggesting th at mindfulness has a unique effect on forgiveness apart from the individuals’ em pathy and anger. Future research should examine these relationships more closel y to gauge whether a mindfulness-based intervention could be of be nefit to individuals who ha ve experienced infidelity. This abstract accurately represents the cont ent of the candidate’s thesis. I recommend its publication. Approved: Elizabeth Allen

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DEDICATION I dedicate this thesis to my parents, Stuart and Laura Johns, who encouraged me to persevere and achieve academic success.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT My thanks to my advisor, Dr. Elizabeth Allen, for her contribution and support to my research, and to the members of my comm ittee for their participation in developing this project. I also would like to thank D ean Daniel Howard for the awarding me the DeanÂ’s Fund for Excellence to support my research financially.

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vii TABLE OF CONTENTS TablesÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. viii CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTIONÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 1 Background and SignificanceÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… 1 HypothesesÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 8 2. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODSÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 10 ProceduresÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….Â…Â…. 10 ParticipantsÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…..Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…... 11 MeasuresÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…..Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 11 3. RESULTSÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 17 Relation between Mindfulness and ForgivenessÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 17 Characteristics of Infidelity Related to ForgivenessÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 21 Relation between Mindfulness and Forgiveness Controlling for Infidelity VariablesÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… 22 Relation between Forgiveness and Empathy and AngerÂ…Â…Â…Â….. 29 Relation between Mindfulness and Empathy and AngerÂ…Â…Â…Â….. 30 Relation between Mindfulness and Forgiveness Testing for MediationÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 31 4. DISCUSSION AND C ONCLUSIONSÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…..Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 33 APENDIX A. MEASURESÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 39 REFERENCESÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 45

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viii LIST OF TABLES Table 1. Pearson Correlations among aspects of Forgiveness and MindfulnessÂ…Â… 20 2. Regression analysis of FFMQÂ’s Descri be as a predictor for FI Stage 1 controlling for Affair variablesÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 23 3. Regression analysis of FFMQÂ’s Descri be as a predictor for FI Stage 2 controlling for Affair variablesÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 24 4. Regression analysis of FFMQÂ’s Act Awa re as a predictor for FI Stage 1 controlling for Affair variablesÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 25 5. Regression analysis of FFMQÂ’s Act Awa re as a predictor for FI Stage 2 controlling for Affair variablesÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 26 6. Regression analysis of FFMQÂ’s Nonjudge as a predictor for FI Stage 1 controlling for Affair variablesÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 27 7. Regression analysis of FFMQÂ’s Nonjudge as a predictor for FI Stage 2 controlling for Affair variablesÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 28 8. Regression analysis of FFMQÂ’s Nonreact as a predictor for FI Stage 3 controlling for Affair variablesÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 28 9. Regression analysis of FFMQÂ’s Nonr eact as a predictor for the MOSFS Benevolence subscale controlling for Affair variablesÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 29 10. Pearson Correlations among aspects of Forgiveness and Empathy and AngerÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…..30 11. Pearson Correlations among aspect s of Mindfulness and Empathy and AngerÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…..31

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1 CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION Background and Significance Mindfulness can be described as “inten tionally focusing one’s attention on the experience occurring at the present moment in a nonjudgmental or accepting way” (Baer & Krietemeyer, 2006, p. 3). In regards to feelings, being mindful entails that a person acknowledges and attends to his or he r current emotional or physical feelings and accepts these feelings. Attention is given without judgment and with the knowledge that the feelings are transient. One who is mindful has greater mental clarity and the ability to see situations objectively (Gethin, 1998) Baer et al. (2006) describes five facets of mindfulness. The fi rst factor is an individual’s nonreactivity to his or her inner experience. The second factor is the individual’s observation or attention to sensations, thought feelings, and perceptions. An individual’s ability to act with awareness and c oncentration rather than performing daily activities thoughtlessly is the third factor of mindfulness. The skill of an indi vidual to label and describe their feelings, sensations, thoughts, and perceptions with words is the fourth factor of mindfulness. The fifth factor of being mindful is being nonjudgmental of one’s experience. The beneficial effects of being mindful have been studied in relation to numerous constructs. For example, a mindfulness-based stress reduction program

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2 resulted in increased quality of life, decreased bodily pain, and decreased psychological distress for chronic pain patient s, with the amount of home meditation practice directly related to the amount of improvement these patients experienced (Rosenzweig, Greeson, Reibel, Green, Jasser, & Beasley, 2010). As another example, Dekeyser, Raes, Leijssen, Leysen, an d Dewulf (2008) found that increased mindfulness was related to positive interp ersonal interaction, such as increased empathy and lower social anxiety. Trait mindfulness (i.e., the general dispositional mindfulness of an individual) has also been studied in relation to couple functioning, findi ng that (a) trait mindfulness is positively related to rela tionship satisfaction for both men and women, (b) men experience less anger and hostility when exposed to relationship conflict if the woman in the relationship is higher in trait mindfulness, and (c) trait mindfulness predicts lower levels of anger, hostility, and discussion anxiety pos t conflict (Barnes, Brown, Krusemark, Cambell, & Rogge, 2007). State mindfulness, defined as the individualÂ’s mindfulness in a specific moment of time, has also been found to be positively related to post conflict discussion of love and commitment (Barnes et al., 2007). Mindfulness-based therapies are cu rrently being evaluated in their effectiveness with couplesÂ’ therapy and as a relationship enhancement tool. Carson, Carson, Gil, and Baucom (2004) found positive outcomes as a result of a

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3 mindfulness-based relationship enhancemen t program designed to improve already healthy intimate relationships. The program appeared to improve marital satisfaction and decrease marital stress, and increase th e individualÂ’s relaxation, self-efficacy to cope with stress, and acceptance of his or her partner. Most couples in this study adhered to the treatment and the results were correlated with adherence, or how strictly the couples followe d the treatment plan (Carson et. al, 2004). These findings are promising for the efficacy of mindfu lness-based therapies with intimate relationships; however, only one study ha s explored mindfulness interventions for couples which see their relationship as being distressed. The use of a mindfulnessbased therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), was examined for use with distressed intimate relationships by Peterson, Eifert, Fiengold, and Davidson (2009). This case study adapted ACT for use w ith two couples who reported to be in distressed relationships. One couple expressed high levels of conflict, low levels of marital satisfaction, and joint decision making problems. The second couple expressed strain on their relationship due to the amount of time spent on each career. The therapy resulted in increased marital ad justment and satisfaction for both couples, as well as reduced psychological distress. This result suggests that mindfulness is beneficial to distresse d intimate relationships. One area which has not received much empi rical attention is the influence of mindfulness on forgiveness of a major betrayal in an intimate relationship. The

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4 definition of forgiveness is debated in th e literature, but forgiveness is generally characterized by relinquishing ill feelings of revenge to ward another person, whether or not the relationship is continued (Cosgrove & Konsta m, 2008). Forgiveness of a major betrayal is defined by Gordon and Bauc om (2003) as a three stage process. The first stage is the “impact” stage when a pe rson learns they have been betrayed. As previous assumptions about the relationship are violated, persons in this stage are likely to seek details about the event in an attempt to explain the event, feel out of control and lash out toward their partner, and withdraw from the relationship in selfpreservation. The second stage is consider ed the “meaning” stage. Persons in this stage feel an increased sense of control, tr y to discover why the be trayal occurred and understand the partner’s behavior, and create new assumptions about the relationship. The last stage is “recovery”. Persons in this stage consolidate their understanding of the event and are able to move on. The betrayed indi vidual no longer punishes their partner and relinquishes absolute negative attitudes toward them (that is, is able to see positives and negatives about the partner). Duri ng this stage, the betrayed individual also decides whether to continue in the relationship or not. The premise of the current study is that mindfulness may aid in this process of forgiveness. A more mindful individual ma y be able to accept their feelings of betrayal without reaction a nd be objective in their obser vation. This nonjudgment and nonreactivity is likely to lead the individual through the st age process more quickly

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5 because the individual is less likely to be “stuck” in the intense negative affect and judgmental cognitions that char acterize the first stage. Forgiveness of a betrayal is important whether the relationshi p is continued or not because of its benefits physically and mentally on the forgiver. Forgiveness is associated with physical and mental wellbeing for the individual (Wilson, Milosevic, Carroll, Hart, & Hibbard, 2008) via stress reduction (Worthington & Scherer, 2004). Specifically, state forgiveness is related to lower blood pressure and heart rate, whereas trait forgiveness of others is a ssociated with lower rates of depression. Additionally, being forgiven for a transgress ion is associated with increasing positive emotions and decreasing negative emoti ons (Worthington, Witvliet, Pietrini, & Miller, 2007). Forgiveness is also healthy for relationships. A willingness to forgive and be forgiven is one of the top ten most impor tant characteristics c ontributing to a longterm marriage (Fenell, 1993). Husbands endor se its importance more so than wives, but both agree on its importance in relations hip longevity (Fenell, 1993). Similarly, forgiveness is associated with relationsh ip closeness and commitment, which helps facilitate reconciliation fo llowing a transgression and pr edict relationship longevity (Tsang, McCullough, & Fincham, 2006). Few explorations on the relationship between mindfulness and forgiveness have been made in the literature. However, a related association was examined in a

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6 study on the effects of meditation in college students (Oman, Shapiro, Thoresen, & Plante, 2008). It was found that meditation interventions can result in a significant increase in general forgiveness of others, as well as a significant decrease in stress compared to the control groups. Although this mindfulness-based approach is supported in increasing general forgiveness, there has not yet been an examination of the relationship between mindfulness and partner specific forgiveness for couples who have experienced a major betrayal. This proposed relationship between mi ndfulness and forgiveness may be mediated by emotions such as empathy and anger. Some studies have examined the relationship between mindfulness and emo tions, including empathy and anger. Dekeyser et al. (2008) discove red that mindful observati on was related to empathic abilities in interpersonal interactions. Mi ndful relating in intimate relationships was explored by Wachs and Cordova (2007). Mindf ul relating is defined as being mindful or present-focused when relating to othe rs. Mindful relating allows a person to respond to others in a more responsive a nd relationally healthy way as a result of being more accepting and less experientially avoidant. Mindfulness as a naturally occurring trait is positively associated with marital quality and emotional repertoire. It was found in Wachs and CordovaÂ’s study (2007) that the emotional repertoire skills that are positively related to mindfulness are empathic concern, perspective-taking, control of anger expression, and self-soothi ng of anger. Mindfulness is negatively

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7 related to personal distress, hostile anger expression and actions. Furthermore, it was discovered that those who are more mindfu l are better at identifying their emotions and communicating them to othe rs. Mindful individuals are also more successful in regulating their impulses of anger reactivity. Block-Lerner, Adair, Plumb, Rhatigan, and Orsillo (2007) also cite several st udies which support Wachs and CordovaÂ’s conclusions, and also found that mindfulne ss is significantly related to empathic concern and perspective taking. When we apply this to the case of fo rgiveness for a betrayal, these empathy and emotion regulation abilities may prove advantageous in moving quickly through the first stage of forgiveness, which is the initial impact of the betrayal and disruption of beliefs expectations of the partner a nd the relationship. The role of empathy and anger in forgiveness has been explored in the literature. Fincham, Paleari, and Regalia (2002) examined the pathway to fo rgiveness of a transgression. Their study showed that empathy and negative reactive emotions, such as anger, sadness, and nervousness, are directly re lated to forgiveness (that is, higher empathy and lower negative reactions), and attri butions are indirectly relate d to forgiveness through these emotional reactions. Another study found a si milar result for the relationship between empathy, anger, and forgiveness during domes tic legal disputes. Specifically, this study found that empathy, perspective taking, and anger are signifi cant predictors of forgiveness of a transgression; empathy is the best predictor of forgiveness, as

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8 measured by low negative emotional responses to the transgression (Welton, Hill, & Seybold, 2008). This has implications for a therapeutic intervention to increase empathy and decrease anger to move an i ndividual through the stages of forgiveness. This study proposes to examine the connections between mindfulness, empathy, anger, and forgiveness. A relati onship has been found between mindfulness and general forgiveness, but it has not b een examined in intimate partner specific forgiveness; that is, forgiveness toward the partner regarding a specific event. Furthermore, a model of the relationshi p of mindfulness and forgiveness with empathy and anger as mediators has not been tested. This study seeks to explore this proposed relationship between mindfulne ss and forgiveness in a population of individuals betrayed by partne r infidelity and examine empathy and anger as likely mediators of this relationship. Hypotheses Hypothesis 1: It is hypothesized that mindfulness will predict greater forgiveness of the partner for the infidelity. Specifically, mindfulness will positively predict stage 3 forgiveness scores and negatively predict stage 1 forgiveness scores (based on the stages of the Gordon et al. (2003) model of forgiveness); moreover, mindfulness will positively predict a general measure of offense-specific forgiveness. This relationship between mindfulness and forgiveness will be first tested in an uncontrolled model,

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9 but the relationship will also be tested cont rolling for factors such as the intensity of the infidelity, length of the infidelity, time since the infidelity, time since the discovery of the infidelity, how sorry the pa rtner was for the infi delity, and how much effort the partner made to repair the relationship. Hypothesis 2: It is hypothesized that both empathy and anger will be related to both forgiveness and mindfulness. Hypothesis 3: It is hypothesized that empathy and anger will mediate the relationship between mindfulness and forgiveness.

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10 CHAPTER 2. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Procedures Participants were adults whose partne rs have committed infidelity and who have agreed to participate in anonymous online social science research. The sample (N=94) was recruited nationally through th e Study Response Project, which is an online service that facilitates behavioral, social, and organizational survey research. Study Response has the ability to recruit pa rticipants via email and keep anonymity, while allowing a direct payment. Indivi duals signed up with Study Response were randomly selected and emailed screening questions from Study Response asking if they: were over 18, had a partner that had an affair while in a relationship with them, and were willing to participate in an anonymous study entitled “Feelings and Relationships”. A sample of individuals an swering yes to the a bove questions were then randomly selected by Study Response and directed via email invitation from Study Response to an anonymous online survey on survey monkey. Once at the survey, participants were guided through an informed consent with four questions ensuring the individual unders tood the consent before being allowed to participate. If an individual failed a consent comprehens ion question, they were given a second chance to review the informed consent a nd answer the question correctly. If the participant answered the question incorrectly again, the survey would direct them to a

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11 page stating they were unable to particip ate. Once answering the consent questions correctly, the participants we re directed to the survey. The measures were presented in the survey in the order they are introduced below to attempt to eliminate bias. Two quality control questions were placed in the survey to ensure that the participant was thoughtfully reading and answering the que stions. For example, one of these questions was: “For quality control, please se lect ‘never or very rarely true’”. If the respondent selected a different response to this question, it would be considered wrong and suggestive of inatte ntive or random responding. Any survey with a wrong answer for the quality control questions was filtered out of analyses. Participation was compensated with a fifteen dollar Amazon gift card. All data was collected at a single time point. Participants Approximately 49% of respondents were male. Participants ranged in age from 22 to 69, with a mean age of 42 years ol d. Fifty-one percent of participants were Caucasian, 30% were Hispanic, 16% were African American, 4% were Native American, and 3.2% were Asian. Over half (5 7%) of participants were no longer in a relationship with the partner that committed the infidelity.

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12 Measures Partner infidelity: In the case of multiple partners with affairs, we chose to focus on one target partner due to the rese arch questions which focus on forgiveness toward a given person. Respondents were prom pted with “Recall th at you have told us that a current or past partner had an affair while in a relationship with you. Now we have some questions about that partner. If multiple partners have had affairs, choose the one that hurt the most.” Participan ts were then asked to rate the “severity” of this partner’s infidelity, from 1 = “mi nor transgression” to 10 = “extremely serious violation or betrayal.” The mean rating for th e severity of the infidelity was an eight on this scale from one to ten. To assess duration of infidelity, participants were asked “To the best of your knowledge, how long di d your partner’s a ffair last? (If your partner has had multiple affairs, try to to tal the time across all these affairs).” Participants were then asked the approxi mate month and year when they first discovered their partners infidelity, and when it ended (or if it was ongoing). Participants were asked how long they had b een together when the partner engaged in infidelity. Finally, participants were asked to rate the amount of ef fort the partner put forth to repair the relationship, and to show that they were sorry on a scale from 1 = “no effort” to 5 = “a lot of effort.” Mindfulness: Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnair e (FFMQ; Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer, & Toney, 2006) was us ed as the measure of mindfulness. The

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13 FFMQ (Appendix A displays measure items sort ed by subscales) is designed to assess mindfulness of an individual in their everyday life. The f actors of mindfulness include: (1) Observe, (2) Describe, (3) Act Aware, (4) Nonjudge, and (5) Nonreact. Item response is a Likert scale from one to five: 1= never or very rarely true and 5 = very often or always true. The Observe subscale is composed of eight items measuring an ability to observe or noti ce one’s thoughts, feeli ngs, and experiences (Chronbach’s = .88, M = 3.55, SD = .76). The Describe su bscale is composed of eight items measuring an ability to descri be one’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences (Chronbach’s = .86, M = 3.63, SD = .78). The Act Aware s ubscale is composed of eight items measuring an ability to act w ith awareness and focus, rather than on “autopilot” or while di stracted (Chronbach’s = .94, M = 3.27, SD = .94). The Nonjudge subscale is composed of eight items measuring an ability to withhold judgment of one’s thoughts, feelin gs, and experiences (Chronbach’s = .92, M = 3.13, SD = .94). The Nonreact subscale is composed of seven items measuring an ability to withhold an immediate reaction to one’s thoughts, feeli ngs, and experiences (Chronbach’s = .80, M = 3.24, SD = .68). The total FFMQ scale is composed of the five subscales (Chronbach’s = .90, M = 3.37, SD = .51). All subscales and scales were created by averaging all of the items in that scale or subscale (reverse scoring

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14 items as needed first) such that a higher score always denotes higher levels of the construct for these scales. Forgiveness: Forgiveness was assessed with two different scales, the Forgiveness Inventory (FI; Gordon & Ba ucom, 2003) and the Marital OffenseSpecific Forgiveness Scale (MOSFS; Palear i, Regalia, & Fincham, 2009). The FI was created to assess the stage of forgiveness an individual is in. For th is study, this scale has been adapted to specify the partner’s infi delity as the betrayal It is comprised of three subscales, each representing the stages of forgiveness. Item response is a Likert scale from one to five: 1=almost never and 5 = almost always. The first stage (“impact”) scale is composed of eight items measuring one’s shock and emotional instability about the infidelity and the partner (Chronbach’s = .85, M =2.77, SD = .85). The second stage (“meaning”) is composed of eight items measuring one’s effort to discover information about the in fidelity and a beginning to reexamine expectations the relati onship (Chronbach’s = .79, M = 3.09, SD = .79). The third stage (“recovery”) is composed of seven items measuring one’s ability to control their emotions about the partner and the in fidelity and one’s sense of “moving on” (Chronbach’s = .77, M = 3.49, SD = .75). The second scale used to assess forgiv eness was the Marital Offense-Specific Forgiveness Scale (MOSFS; Paleari, Re galia, & Fincham, 2009). The MOSFS was

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15 created to assess an individualÂ’s forgivene ss of specific transgression of a spouse. For this study, this scale has been adapted to spec ify the partnerÂ’s infidelity as the specific offense. Item response is a Likert scale fr om one to six: 1 = strongly disagree and 6 = strongly agree. This scale has two subscales: Benevolence and ResentmentAvoidance. The Benevolence subscale is co mposed of four items measuring oneÂ’s overt forgiveness of the infidelity offens e and efforts to rebuild the relationship (ChronbachÂ’s = .83, M = 3.19, SD = 1.24). The Resentment-Avoidance subscale is composed of six items measuring the amount of oneÂ’s resentment towards the partner and efforts to avoid the partner (ChronbachÂ’s = .87, M = 3.75, SD = 1.15). The total MOSFS scale is composed of both subscales (ChronbachÂ’s = .83, M = 3.23, SD = .94), with resentment-avoidance items reverse scored. Higher scores on the total score thus indicate greater forgiveness. Empathy: The Interpersona l Reactivity Index (IRI; Davis, 1980) was used to measure empathy. Item response is a Likert scale from one to five: 1 = does not describe me well and 5 = describes me very well. The Empathic Concern and Perspective Taking subscales were used in this study. The Empathic Concern subscale is composed of seven items m easuring oneÂ’s emotional sensitivity and ability to feel otherÂ’s misfortune (ChronbachÂ’s = .88, M = 3.68, SD = .80). The Perspective Taking subscale is composed of seven items measuring oneÂ’s ability to

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16 understand different perspectives or sides of an issue (ChronbachÂ’s = .81, M = 3.55, SD = .71). The subscales compos e the total IRI (ChronbachÂ’s = .90, M = 3.62, SD = .68). Anger: The Trait Anger Scale (TAS; Sp eilberger, 1988) was used to measure an individualÂ’s general anger. Item response is a Likert scale from one to five: 1 = never or very rarely true and 5 = very often or always true. This scale is composed of fifteen items (ChronbachÂ’s = .94, M = 2.87, SD = .85).

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17 CHAPTER 3. RESULTS Relation between Mindfulness and Forgiveness The initial analyses examined were corre lations between the main variables of interest: Mindfulness (FFMQ) and Forg iveness (FI and MOSFS). Contrary to hypotheses, the overall scales did not relate as anticipated. That is the general overall FFMQ score did not positively predict Stag e Three FI scores or MOSFS Benevolence scores, although it did negatively predict Stage One and Two FI scores and MOSFS Resentment-Avoidance scores. Recall that the FFMQ has 5 subscales, the FI has 3 subscales, and the MOSFS has 2 subscales. Examining correlations on the subscale level, it appeared that certain aspects of mi ndfulness are related to different aspects of forgiveness (details to follow). Because of the emerging patterns between the different subscales of mindfulness and the s ubscales of forgiveness, analyses were examined at the subscale level. It is possible to conceptually group the forgiveness scales into two forgiveness constructs: “Process” and “M oving On.” The Process constr uct consists of FI Stage One, FI Stage Two, and MOSFS Resentment-Avoidance. Example items on these scales include: “I feel overwhelmed by confusing emotions about my partner’s

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18 infidelity,” “I want to find out why my partner committed infidelity,” and “I would like to hurt my partner in the same way he/she hurt me.” The overall sense emerging from these items is cognitive or emotional turbulence that could characterize impact or processing of an infidelity event. Overa ll, “Process” can be described as the initial process of shock and emotional inst ability because of the betrayal. In addition to the apparent concep tual overlap among these scales, MOSFS Resentment-Avoidance was positively correlated to FI Stage One ( r = .76, p <.001) and FI Stage Two ( r = .30, p <.01). FI Stage One and FI Stage Two were also positively correlated ( r = .61, p <.001). As I will describe below, in addition to being positively related to one another, these scales tended to be related to the some of the mindfulness subscales in a similar way (see Table 1, to be discussed further). Because of the apparent overlap among ite ms (in a “face validity” manner) and these empirical relations between scales, they will be discussed together in the results and conclusions as the “Process” construct of forgiveness. I will label the second forgiveness cons truct as “Moving On.” Moving On is composed of FI Stage Three and the MOSFS Benevolence. Example items on these scales include: “Understanding my partner’s infidelity is more important to me than blaming him/her,” “I feel my emotions a bout my partner’s infidelity are under my control,” and “Since my partner's infidel ity, I have done my best to restore my

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19 relationship with her/him.” The FI Stage Th ree scale items reflect emotional stability about the infidelity, partner, and rela tionship, while the MOSFS Benevolence scale items express more overt forgiveness and effo rts to repair the relationship. These two scales were positively correlated ( r = .58, p < .001). Together they form this construct, which can be described as fee ling resolution, forgiveness and having more emotional stability about the relationship and infidelity. FI Stage Three very much distinguished itself from FI Stages 1 and 2 in terms of the way it related to the mindfulness subscales (Tab le 1). MOSFS Benevolence was more ambiguous—in some ways relati ng to the mindfulness subscales as the Process variables did, but in other ways re lating to the mindfulne ss subscales as FI Stage Three did. While I have grouped MO SFS Benevolence with FI Stage Three conceptually, this issue will be kept in mind and discussed below. Clearly, Process and Moving On ar e not unique ways to construct forgiveness—they are in fact perfectly in line with Gordon’s con ceptualization of the forgiveness process. The only unique aspect here is separating the MOSFS scales and grouping them with the FI scales, such th at MOSFS Benevolence and FI Stage Three are considered as one aspect of forgiv eness (“Moving On”), and MOSFS ResentmentAvoidance, FI Stage 1, and FI stage 2 are considered another aspect of forgiveness (“Process”), for the purposes of interpreting the data.

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20 Table 1 displays the patterns of correlati ons of the forgiveness scales with the FFMQ subscales. The scales considered to re flect “Process” (FI Stage One, FI Stage Two, and MOSFS Resentment-Avoidance) we re inversely related to two FFMQ subscales: Act Aware and Nonjudge. FI Stage One and Two are also inversely related to FFMQ’s Describe. However, surprisingl y, these first two FI scales were also positively related to the FFMQ Observe scale. The scales considered to reflect Moving On (FI Stage Three and MOSFS Benevolence) showed a somewhat different pattern. These scales were positively correlated with FFMQ’s Nonreact subscal e. Contrary to the hypothesized relationship, MOSFS Benevolence was invers ely related to the FFMQ’s Describe, Act Aware, and Nonjudge subscales. Table 1. Pearson Correlations among asp ects of Forgiveness and Mindfulness Observe Describe Act Aware Nonjudge Nonreact Process Stage 1 .21* -.26* -.63*** -.60*** .07 Stage 2 .29** -.20* -.44*** -.53*** .14 ResentmentAvoidance .09 -.14 -.51*** -.42*** .03 Moving on Stage 3 .17 .00 .00 .02 .40*** Benevolence .19 -.26* -.22* -.29** .29** p < 0.05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001

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21 Characteristics of Infidelity Related to Forgiveness Following this initial examination of the relationship between mindfulness and forgiveness, I sought to establish some basic relationships between aspects of the infidelity and forgiveness. The characteri stics that were associated with higher Process scores (i.e., the earlier stages of forgiveness, such that higher scores may indicate more present emo tional and cognitive turmoil regarding the affair) were more effort from the partner to re pair the relationship (stage 1 r = .35, p < .01; stage 2 r = .57, p < .001), the more the partner showed being sorry for the affair (stage 1 r = .24, p < .05; stage 2 r = .49, p < .001), and a shorter time peri od since discovery of the affair (stage 1 r = -.32, p < .01; stage 2 r = -.32, p < .01). A longer partnerÂ’s affair was only related to higher FI Stage One score ( r = .23, p < .05), indicating more turmoil. The MOSFS Resentment-Avoidance scale did not show significant relationships with these aspects of the affair experience. The characteristics related to more M oving On variables (FI Stage Three and MOSFS Benevolence) were more effort from the partner to repair the relationship (Stage 3 r = .35, p <.01; MOSFS Benevolence r = .55, p <.001) and the more the partner showed being sorry for the affair (Stage 3 r = .43, p <.001; MOSFS Benevolence r = .52, p <.001). Additionally, the less severe the infidelity ( r = -.35, p <.01) and the shorter the time since the discovery of the infidelity ( r = -.26, p <.05),

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22 the higher an individual rate d in MOSFS Benevolence. As expected from the nature of the items on the Benevolence scale (e xplicit forgiveness and relationship restoration), individuals had hi gher Benevolence scores if th ey are still together with the partner that had the affair, t (85) = 4.68, p <.001 with a mean difference of 1.14. Individuals also had higher FI Stage Three if they are still together with the partner, t(85) = 2.67, p <.01, but with a lower mean difference of .41. Relation between Mindfulness and Forgivenes s Controlling for Infidelity Variables As noted above, some characteristics of th e affair, such as length of the affair, were related to some forgiveness variables. In order to isolate the relationships between mindfulness and forgiveness cont rolling for these affair variables, hierarchical regressions we re conducted testing the re lationship between the FFMQ subscales and the forgiveness scales (FI and MOSFS) controlling for these affair variables. This was only done for those cases where aspects of the affair were show to be related to aspects of forgiveness. Ta bles 2 through 7 display the results between FFMQ subscales (Describe, Act Aware, a nd Nonjudge) and FI Stage 1 and 2 when controlling for the affair variables associated with the first two FI stages (time since discovery, effort from the part ner to show that he/she is sorry and wants to repair the relationship, and length of the affair). As displayed in Table 2 and 3, the relationship between FFMQ Describe and FI Stage One and Two was no longer significant when

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23 accounting for these variables. However, FFMQ Act Aware (Table 4 and 5) and FFMQ Nonjudge (Table 6 and 7) were still si gnificant negative predictors of FI Stage One and Two after controlling fo r these affair variables. Additionally, when controlli ng for these variables for Moving On variables, FFMQ Nonreact was still a significant positive predictor of FI Stage Three (Table 8), but not a significant predictor of MOSFS Benevolence (Table 9). Table 2. Regression analysis of FFMQÂ’s De scribe as a predictor for FI Stage 1 controlling for Affair variables B SE B Step 1 Affair Discovery -.11 .05 -.25* Partner Sorry -.19 .12 -.31 Partner Effort .31 .11 .54** Affair Length .15 .06 .24* Step 2 Affair Discovery -.10 .05 -.22* Partner Sorry -.16 .12 -.26 Partner Effort .28 .11 .49* Affair Length .15 .06 .25* FFMQ Describe -.16 .10 -.15 Note: R2 = .24 for Step 1, R2 = .02 for Step 2 ( p = .12). p < 0.05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001

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24 Table 3. Regression analysis of FFMQÂ’s De scribe as a predictor for FI Stage 2 controlling for Affair variables B SE B Step 1 Affair Discovery -.03 .04 -.07 Partner Sorry -.04 .10 -.41 Partner Effort .33 .10 .60** Step 2 Affair Discovery -.02 .04 -.05 Partner Sorry -.03 .11 -.05 Partner Effort .31 .10 .58** FFMQ Describe -.07 .09 -.07 Note: R2 = .33 for Step 1, R2 = .01 for Step 2 ( p = .43). p < 0.05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001

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25 Table 4. Regression analysis of FFMQÂ’s Ac t Aware as a predictor for FI Stage 1 controlling for Affair variables B SE B Step 1 Affair Discovery -.11 .05 -.25* Partner Sorry -.19 .12 -.31 Partner Effort .31 .11 .54** Affair Length .15 .06 .24* Step 2 Affair Discovery -.07 .04 -.16 Partner Sorry -.12 .10 -.18 Partner Effort .20 .10 .35* Affair Length .02 .06 .04 FFMQ Act Aware-.46 .08 -.51*** Note: R2 = .24 for Step 1, R2 = .20 for Step 2 ( p < .001). p < 0.05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001

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26 Table 5. Regression analysis of FFMQÂ’s Ac t Aware as a predictor for FI Stage 2 controlling for Affair variables B SE B Step 1 Affair Discovery -.03 .04 -.07 Partner Sorry -.04 .10 -.41 Partner Effort .33 .10 .60** Step 2 Affair Discovery -.01 .04 -.03 Partner Sorry .02 .10 .04 Partner Effort .26 .09 .47** FFMQ Act Aware-.27 .07 -.32*** Note: R2 = .33 for Step 1, R2 = .09 for Step 2 ( p < .001). p < 0.05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001

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27 Table 6. Regression analysis of FFMQÂ’s N onjudge as a predictor for FI Stage 1 controlling for Affair variables B SE B Step 1 Affair Discovery -.11 .05 -.25* Partner Sorry -.19 .12 -.31 Partner Effort .31 .11 .54** Affair Length .15 .06 .24* Step 2 Affair Discovery -.08 .04 -.18 Partner Sorry -.13 .11 -.20 Partner Effort .20 .10 .35* Affair Length .04 .06 .06 FFMQ Nonjudge -.42 .08 -.48*** Note: R2 = .24 for Step 1, R2 = .18 for Step 2 ( p < .001). p < 0.05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001

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28 Table 7. Regression analysis of FFMQÂ’s N onjudge as a predictor for FI Stage 2 controlling for Affair variables B SE B Step 1 Affair Discovery -.03 .04 -.07 Partner Sorry -.04 .10 -.41 Partner Effort .33 .10 .60** Step 2 Affair Discovery -.01 .04 -.03 Partner Sorry .04 .09 .07 Partner Effort .23 .09 .42* FFMQ Nonjudge -.35 .07 -.42*** Note: R2 = .33 for Step 1, R2 = .17 for Step 2 ( p < .001). p < 0.05, ** p < .01, *** p < .0 Table 8. Regression analysis of FFMQÂ’s N onreact as a predictor for FI Stage 3 controlling for Affair variables B SE B Step 1 Partner Sorry .30 .11 .55** Partner Effort -.07 .10 -.14 Step 2 Partner Sorry .23 .10 .42* Partner Effort -.04 .10 -.09 FFMQ Nonreact .33 .10 .30** Note: R2 = .18 for Step 1, R2 = .08 for Step 2 ( p < .01). p < 0.05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001

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29 Table 9. Regression analysis of FFMQÂ’s N onreact as a predictor for the MOSFS Benevolence subscale control ling for Affair variables B SE B Step 1 Affair Discovery .01 .07 .01 Partner Sorry .17 .16 .19 Partner Effort .28 .16 .34 Affair Severity -.12 .06 -.20* Step 2 Affair Discovery .01 .07 .01 Partner Sorry .12 .16 .14 Partner Effort .30 .16 .35 Affair Severity -.12 .06 -.19* FFMQ Nonreact .23 .16 .13 Note: R2 = .36 for Step 1, R2 = .02 for Step 2 ( p = .17). p < 0.05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001 Relation between Forgiveness and Empathy and Anger Different aspects of forgiveness were al so associated with both empathy and anger. As shown in Table 10, Process vari ables (FI Stage One, FI Stage Two, and MOSFS Resentment-Avoidance) was positively associated with TAS (trait anger). Additionally, IRI Empathic C oncern subscale was negatively correlated with FI Stage One.

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30 In terms of relations with Moving On variables, only IRI Empathic Concern was negatively associated with MOSFS Be nevolence (Moving On), an unexpected result. Table 10. Pearson Correlations among asp ects of Forgiveness and Empathy and Anger IRI Empathic Concern IRI Perspective Taking TAS Process Stage 1 -.21* -.11 .53*** Stage 2 .03 .13 .31** ResentmentAvoidance -.17 -.12 .51*** Moving On Stage 3 -.03 .20 -.10 Benevolence-.31** -.06 .20 p < 0.05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001 Relation between Mindfulness and Empathy and Anger Table 3 displays the results of th e correlation analyses between FFMQ subscales and IRI Empathic Concern, IRI Perspective Taking, and TAS. TAS (trait anger) was inversely related and IRI Empath ic Concern was positively related to the FFMQ Describe, Act Aware, and Nonjudge subscales. IRI Perspective Taking was positively correlated with all five of the mindfulness subscales.

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31 Table 11. Pearson Correlations among asp ects of Mindfulness and Empathy and Anger IRI Empathic Concern IRI Perspective Taking TAS Observe .11 .36*** .15 Describe .25* .29** -.22* Act Aware .31** .27** -.66*** Nonjudge .28** .28** -.63*** Nonreact -.04 .27** .00 p < 0.05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001 Relation between Mindfulness and Fo rgiveness Testing for Mediation Recall that the original hypothese s focused on the anger and empathy mediating relationships between mindfulness and forgiveness. The above results sections demonstrate the comp lexity of patterns of relati onships among variables, and that, in many cases, the basic relationships needed to test mediation are not supported. For those variables where the basic relationshi ps needed to test mediation are present, I conducted mediation analyses. Specifi cally, the FFMQÂ’s Act Aware and Nonjudge were significant predictors of Process vari ables (FI Stage One, FI Stage Two, MOSFS Resentment-Avoidance), the Act Aware and Nonjudge FFMQ subscales were

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32 significantly related to the TAS, and the TAS is also significantly related to all three Process variables. Thus, mediation could be tested as to whether anger mediated the relationship between Act Aware/Nonjudge and the three Process variables. Of these tests of mediation, the only one that s howed evidence of a mediating effect was FFMQÂ’s Nonjudge and MOSFS Resentment-Avoida nce. Specifically, the relationship between FFMQÂ’s Nonjudge and MOSFS Resentment-Avoidance ( c = -.56, p < .05) becomes a weaker non-significant relationship ( cÂ’ = -.21, p = .13) when controlling for TAS. Using KennyÂ’s mediation macro program (2009), there were significant indirect effects and the percentage of the total effect mediated is 62.5% (Kenny, 2011).

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33 CHAPTER 4. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS Firstly, Process and Moving On tended to be characterized by different aspects of the infidelity. As expected, more Process (i.e ., more emotional instability and shock about the infidelity) was ch aracterized by a shorter time since the discovery of the affair, and a longer length of affair. More Process was also related to more effort from the partner to repair th e relationship and th e more the partner showed that he or she was sorry for the infidelity. It may be that the more the survey participant is trying to seek meaning (Stage Two) and is more upset and shocked (Stage One) for an affair, the more the partne r needs to show regret and repair efforts. This relationship does not seem to be explai ned by the severity of the affair, as this variable was surprisingly not related to Stage 1 or 2. Moving On tended to also be characterize d by more effort from the partner to repair the relationship and the more the part ner showed being sorry for the affair. The severity of the infidelity appeared to only be related to MOSFS Benevolence, suggesting that the partner is more willing to endorse the term “forgive” and make an effort to restore the relationship if the affair was less severe. Another unexpected relationship found was that the shorter the tim e since discovery of the infidelity was

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34 also related to MOSFS Benevolence scale. This may be an effect of the MOSFS BenevolenceÂ’s scale items declaring forgivenes s, which is socially desirable, but the participant may still have the initial emo tional turmoil considering its relation to Stage One and Two discussed above. With respect to mindfulness, Process forgiveness (FI Stage One, FI Stage Two, and MOSFS Resentment-Avoidance) was shown to be related to FFMQÂ’s Act Aware and Nonjudge after controlling for affair variables. Consistent with the general hypothesis of mindfulness relati ng to progress through the stag es of forgiveness, the higher the individual scores in these aspects, the lower the individual is in these two stages (e.g., the less emotional instability and shock he or she is feeling about the affair). These aspects of mindfulness are al so significantly related to lower general anger in the individual. This suggests that these aspects of mindfulness (acting with awareness and being nonjudging of thoughts, emotions, and experiences) may aid in helping the individual to deal with the initial feelings of shock and violation of their expectations of the partner in the relationship. The correlations are slightly lower for the second stage than the first stage, wh ich helps supports this belief that being mindful in these two ways is more likely to help deal with th e initial feeling of betrayal.

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35 The positive association of the FFMQ Nonreact with Moving On (FI Stage Three and MOSFS Benevolence) also supports the hypothesized relationship between mindfulness and forgiveness. The FFMQ Nonreact subscale encompasses an ability to “step back” from the emotion or experi ence and pause and not immediately react. This particular aspect of mindfulness may enable an individual to endorse the items of the FI Stage Three, which embody being in control of the emotions about the partner and affair, as well as seeing multiple perspectives of the affair and the partner. Similarly, the ability to be nonreactive may also facilitate the individual to endorse MOSFS Benevolence items that state forgiv eness and an attempt to restore the relationship. In summary, nonreactivity may aid in a process of moving on from the infidelity, whether with the partner or not. However, there were a number of une xpected results. One of these was the inverse relationship between MOSFS Be nevolence with the FFMQ Describe, Act Aware, and Nonjudge. Similarly, MOSFS Bene volence was positively correlated with TAS and inversely correlated with IRI Em pathic Concern. This unforeseen result may be explained by the items of the MO SFS Benevolence subscale. FI Stage Three was highly correlated to the Benevolence scale, but it does not show this same result. While the Benevolence subscale contains items using the word forgiveness and asking about attempts to repair the re lationship, the Stage Three scale does not.

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36 Instead it refers to a moving past the infide lity event. The term “forgive” is very loaded and people have different definitions of what it means. It is also a socially desirable term. Therefore, it is very likely that an indivi dual may claim “forgiveness” while still harboring underlying negativ e feelings and resentment [a common situation Gordon (1998) has la beled “false forgiveness”]. Specifically, individuals that endorse these mindfulness scales ma y be less likely to claim the benevolence forgiveness items when they are experienci ng the ambiguity and emotional turmoil of the process. These individuals may be less likely to endorse “forgiveness” per se, if forgiveness as measured in the benevol ence scale could actually represent a superficial cover of mixed f eelings and emotional instab ility. That is, if one is mindful, perhaps they are more accepting of their conflicting emotions and the longer process to moving on, and do not rush to fo rgive and restore. In addition to this possible explanation of the surprising re lation to mindfulness and anger, the IRI Empathic Concern subscale contains items that may be suggestive of a sensitive (“soft hearted”) person that may be highl y affected emotionally by a betrayal and thus, less likely to endorse MOSFS Be nevolence items of forgiveness. Another possible factor that may aff ect the results with Benevolence is whether or not the individual is still with the partner. If this individual is no longer with the partner, they are unlikely to endorse these items of forgiveness and

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37 attempting to repair the relationship. As discussed in the results, participants that are currently in a relationship with the part ner that committed the infidelity scored significantly higher on the MO SFS Benevolence scale. As 57% of the individuals endorsed no longer being with the partner th at had the affair, the majority would endorse this item lower. Further testing us ing being in the relationship or not as a possible moderator is required. A second unanticipated result is the po sitive correlation between the Observe subscale of the FFMQ with FI Stages One and Two (part of Process forgiveness). One possible reason for this is that the obs erve subscale items are all about how much a person is aware or focused on their feeli ngs or sensations. Whereas the Describe, Act Aware, and Nonjudge subscales are abou t more than just being aware of the thoughts or feelings, they encompass an ability to understand the feelings and sensations; to be able to describe them accurately while not judging them, and be able to focus their attention on what they ar e physically or mentally doing. The Observe subscale is just a mere observation of the f act that sensations are happening. It may be that someone in either of the first two stages, which are about the emotional instability and then a beginning of the desire to understand the infidelity, will be very aware of the many emotions they are feeli ng not only about the infidelity, but about

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38 everything going on in their life while goi ng through these stages, even while less able to mindfully process the emotions. While the mediation hypothesis was not supported on the whole, there is still reason to note that mindfulness is relate d to both a personÂ’s general empathy and anger and aspects of their forgiveness of a specific offense. There are important clinical implications that mindfulness may be very psychologically healthy for this reason. As shown in this study and severa l others, mindfulness appears to help individuals cope with negative emotions and their reactivity to them. Mindful individuals may be more apt to be able to co pe with events such as infidelity. Because empathy and anger were not supported as mediating this relationship, mindfulness may have a unique ability to aid in the forg iving process separate from its effects on emotion regulation.

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39 APPENDIX A Five Factor Mindfulness Qu estionnaire (FFMQ) (39 items) 1 2 3 4 5 never or very rarely sometimes often very often or rarely true true true true always true Observe items: 1. When IÂ’m walking, I deliberately no tice the sensations of my body moving. 2. When I take a shower or bath, I stay alert to the sensations of water on my body. 3. I notice how foods and drinks affect my thoughts, bodily sensations, and emotions. 4. I pay attention to sensations, such as the wind in my hair or sun on my face. 5. I pay attention to sounds, such as cl ocks ticking, birds chirping, or cars passing. 6. I notice the smells and aromas of things. 7. I notice visual elements in art or nature such as colors, shapes, textures, or patterns of light and shadow. 8. I pay attention to how my emotions affect my thoughts and behavior. Describe items: 1. IÂ’m good at finding words to describe my feelings. 2. I can easily put my beliefs, opinions and expectations into words. 3. ItÂ’s hard for me to find the word s to describe what IÂ’m thinking. (reversed) 4. I have trouble thinking of the right words to express how I feel about things. (reversed) 5. When I have a sensation in my body, itÂ’s difficult for me to describe it because I canÂ’t find the right words. (reversed) 6. Even when IÂ’m feeling terribly upset, I can find a way to put it into words. 7. My natural tendency is to put my experiences into words. 8. I can usually describe how I feel at the moment in considerable detail.

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40 Act with Awareness items: 1. When I do things, my mind wanders off and I’m easily distracted. (reversed) 2. I don’t pay attention to what I’m doing because I’m daydreaming, worrying, or otherwise distracted. (reversed) 3. I am easily distracted. (reversed) 4. I find it difficult to stay focused on what’s happening in the present. (reversed) 5. It seems I am “running on automatic” without much awareness of what I’m doing. (reversed) 6. I rush through activities without being really atte ntive to them. (reversed) 7. I do jobs or tasks automatically wi thout being aware of what I’m doing. (reversed) 8. I find myself doing things wit hout paying attention. (reversed) Nonjudge items: 1. I criticize myself for having irra tional or inappropriate emotions. (reversed) 2. I tell myself I shouldn’t be feeli ng the way I’m feeling. (reversed) 3. I believe some of my thoughts are a bnormal or bad and I shouldn’t think that way. (reversed) 4. I make judgments about whether my thoughts are good or bad. (reversed) 5. I tell myself that I shouldn’t be th inking the way I’m thinking. (reversed) 6. I think some of my emotions are bad or inappropriate and I shouldn’t feel them. (reversed) 7. When I have distressing thoughts or images, I judge myself as good or bad, depending what the thought/i mage is about. (reversed) 8. I disapprove of myself when I have irrati onal ideas. (reversed) Nonreact items: 1. I perceive my feelings and emotions without having to react to them. 2. I watch my feelings without getting lost in them. 3. When I have distressing thoughts or images, I “step back” and am aware of the thought or image wit hout getting taken over by it. 4. In difficult situations, I can paus e without immediately reacting. 5. When I have distressing thoughts or images, I feel calm soon after. 6. When I have distressing thoughts or imag es I am able just to notice them without reacting. 7. When I have distressing thoughts or im ages, I just notice them and let them go.

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41 Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) (14 items) 1 2 3 4 5 Does not describes me describe me very well well Empathic Concern items: 1. I often have tender, concerned feelin gs for people less fortunate than me. 2. Sometimes I DON’T feel very sorry for other people when they are having problems. (reversed) 3. When I see someone being taken adva ntage of, I feel kind of protective towards them. 4. Other people's misfortunes DO NOT us ually disturb me a great deal. (reversed) 5. When I see someone being treated unfa irly, I sometimes DON’T feel very much pity for them. (reversed) 6. I am often quite touched by things that I see happen. 7. I would describe myself as a pretty soft-hearted person. Perspective Taking items: 1. I sometimes find it difficult to see thi ngs from the “other guy's” point of view. (reversed) 2. I try to look at everybody's side of a disagreement before I make a decision. 3. I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective. 4. If I'm sure I'm right about somethi ng, I DON’T waste much time listening to other people's arguments. (reversed) 5. I believe that there are two sides to every question and try to look at them both. 6. When I'm upset at someone, I usually try to “put myself in his shoes” for a while. 7. Before criticizing somebody, I try to imag ine how I would feel if I were in their place.

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42 Trait Anger Scale (TAS) (15 items) 1 2 3 4 almost sometimes often almost never always 1. I have a fiery temper. 2. I am quick tempered. 3. I am a hotheaded person. 4. I get annoyed when I am singled out for correction. 5. It makes me furious when I am criticized in front of others. 6. I get angry when IÂ’m slowed down by othersÂ’ mistakes. 7. I feel infuriated when I do a good job and get a poor evaluation. 8. I fly off the handle. 9. I feel annoyed when IÂ’m not gi ven recognition for doing good work. 10. People who think they are always right irritate me. 11. When I get mad, I say nasty things. 12. I feel irritated. 13. I feel angry. 14. When I get frustrated, I feel like hitting someone. 15. It makes my blood boil when I am pressured. Marital Offense-Specific Forgiveness Scale (10 items) 1 2 3 4 5 6 strongly disagree somewhat somewhat agree strongly disagree disagree agree agree Benevolence items: 1. Although she/he hurt me, I definitely put my partnerÂ’s infidelity aside so that we could resume our relationship. 2. Since my partner's infidelity, I have done my best to restore my relationship with her/him. 3. I forgave her/him completely, thoroughly. 4. I soon forgave her/him.

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43 Resentment-Avoidance items: 1. Since my partner committed infidelity, I have been less willing to talk to her/him. 2. Since my partner committed infidelit y, I get annoyed with her/him more easily. 3. I make my partner feel guilty for his/her infidelity. 4. I would like to hurt my partner in the same way he/she hurt me. 5. Because of his/her infidelity, I find it difficult to be loving toward her/him. 6. I still hold some grudge against my pa rtner because of his/her infidelity. Forgiveness Inventory (FI) (23 items) 1 2 3 4 5 almost almost never always Stage 1: 1. Our relationship feels out of balance as a result of my partner’s infidelity. 2. I feel overwhelmed by confusing emoti ons about my partner’s infidelity. 3. My emotions about my partner’s infi delity change from day to day. 4. I am too numb to feel any emotion about my partner’s infidelity. 5. I find myself withdrawing from interaction with my partner. 6. I keep trying to “even the score” between my partner and me. 7. I feel like I want to punish my partner for his/her infidelity. 8. I want to make my partner “pay” for his/her infidelity. Stage 2 items: 1. I want to find out why my partner committed infidelity. 2. I am examining my views about what I should realistically expect from my partner. 3. I spend my time convincing myself that I am still a good person in spite of my partner’s infidelity. 4. I am learning that many different f actors caused my part ner’s infidelity. 5. My emotions about my partner’s infidelity are becoming clearer. 6. I want to ask my partner for all th e details about his/her infidelity. 7. I find myself collecting informati on about my partner’s infidelity. 8. I find myself trying to be a better partner.

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44 Stage 3 items: 1. Understanding my partnerÂ’s infidelity is more important to me than blaming him/her. 2. I can see both the positive and nega tive aspects of our relationship. 3. I am able to look at both good and bad qualities of my partner. 4. I feel I am ready to put my partnerÂ’s infidelity behind me. 5. I am able to let go of my anger about my partnerÂ’s infidelity. 6. I feel my emotions about my partne rÂ’s infidelity are under my control. 7. I know how I feel about continuing our relationship.

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