Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Clinical psychology.


Hart, Kenneth (Psychology)




The current study examined archival data from 61 individuals who completed a psycho-educational intervention program in London, UK. Participants were ex-substance abusers with a history of alcohol and other drug (AOD) use disorders who were motivated to enhance their subjective quality of life. The degree of benefit that participants' derived from participation in the intervention program was assessed. Specifically, the current study sought to answer two broad questions. First, "Are there benefits of self-forgiveness on well-being?" among individuals in Stage 2 recovery from AOD use disorders. Second, if there were benefits of self-forgiveness on well-being, "What treatment-related process variables facilitated individuals' capacity to forgive themselves?" To assess these two themes, the benefits of self-forgiveness and self-forgiveness facilitating factors, two design approaches to hypothesis testing were applied: a longitudinal design and a cross-sectional design. Specifically, the longitudinal design examined treatment-facilitated changes in self-forgiveness by assessing the relations between changes in self-forgiveness and changes in various well-being indicators using pre-treatment, post-treatment, and four-month follow-up data. The cross-sectional design, in contrast, examined the relations between dispositional levels of self-forgiveness and levels of the well-being variables. It was hypothesized that treatment-facilitated changes in self-forgiveness and individual differences in the capacity to forgive the self would be significantly related to well-being outcomes. With respect to self-forgiveness facilitating factors, it was hypothesized that the degree of individuals' engagement in interpersonal amends and therapeutic alliance with their counselor would significantly predict treatment-facilitated changes in self-forgiveness and overall levels of self-forgiveness. Overall, the results indicated that the capacity to forgive the self was predictive of enhanced well-being outcomes among individuals engaged in Stage 2 recovery from their AOD use disorders. However, no significant relations between treatment-facilitated changes in self-forgiveness and well-being were found. The relations found between dispositional levels of self-forgiveness and enhanced well-being outcomes are theorized to be explained by a number of different mechanisms. For example, the benefits of self-forgiveness are discussed as possibly arising from being an adaptive emotion-focused coping strategy. Finally, the implications of the current findings on the addiction treatment field and well-being, addiction, and self-forgiveness scholarship are discussed.