Title. Concept analysis of forgiveness with a multi-cultural emphasis
Aim. This paper is a report of a concept analysis of forgiveness.
Background. Worldwide interest in and funding for forgiveness research has brought about a body of knowledge from many disciplines that could be clinically useful to nursing. At this time, nurse scholars are beginning to challenge one another to focus on this important area of inquiry. To date, however, most scholarship on forgiveness has been conducted in related disciplines, rather than in nursing. Conceptual and theoretical work is needed in nursing to promote knowledge development in this area.
Method. The CINAHL, Medline and PsycInfo databases were searched for papers published between 1990 and 2007 using the keywords, forgiveness, forgive, or reconciliation in the title or abstract. The non-linear evolutionary process of concept analysis was used to identify the concept of interest, its origins, realm, attributes and context, characteristics, and implications. Forgiveness was also explored from an international multi-cultural perspective. An exemplar is included to illuminate the concept. A total of 34 scholarly works from a variety of disciplines were included in the analysis.
Findings. A definition of forgiveness emerged from the analysis, as well as a multi-cultural understanding of the concept. Three important attributes of forgiveness are that it is the relinquishing of a negative response, replacing the negative response with a benevolent response, and a process that occurs over time. Multi-cultural attributes centre on group harmony, re-establishing harmonious connections between people, and the morality of considering others as worthy of love and understanding.
Conclusion. A multi-cultural understanding of forgiveness may provide the impetus for further theory development and research in nursing, and could be used to educate nurses on beginning interventions in this area.