The present study uncovers how older adults have reported learning about forgiveness throughout the life course. We used a series of 22 semi-structured interviews to create a proposed model of how individuals report learning about forgiveness throughout the life course: The Reflections on Forgiveness Framework. Participants were predominantly female (N = 19), well educated, and non-Hispanic White (N = 22). We found that participants primarily learned about forgiveness via religion and life experiences. Life experiences occurred through participants’ own forgiveness experiences and witnessing others forgive. Time also played a role in these personal experiences, with forgiveness becoming more important, although some continued resentment persisted. Participants tended to dwell less on transgressions as they became older and personal characteristics shaped the role of forgiveness in participants’ lives, with both contributing to forgiveness being more important. This framework is useful for clinicians and in further understanding how forgiveness develops and occurs throughout the life course.
- Moral development
- Older adults