Forgiveness in Japanese Children and Adolescents: Dispositional, Emotional, and Parental Influence




Watanabe, Naomi

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Peer relationships play a very important role in children’s social and emotional development. Like adults, children face interpersonal conflicts in daily life, and forgiveness is a critical skill for them to repair and maintain friendships. Although forgiveness in children has been receiving increasing attention in recent years, little is known about children’s forgiveness in Japanese culture. The present study investigated dispositional, emotional, and parental influence on Japanese children and adolescents’ forgiveness. The participants were 86 Japanese children and adolescents (4th- to 8th-grade) and their parents living in Japan and the United States. The results showed that there was no gender difference in their likelihood to forgive and no association between perceived positive parenting style and their tendency to forgive. However, a negative relation between anger and forgiveness and a positive association between empathy and forgiveness were found. Contrary to the hypothesis, the results indicated that Japanese children and adolescents living in the U.S. had a higher likelihood to forgive than those who live in Japan. Implications for cultural differences in children and adolescents’ forgiveness and suggestions for future research are discussed.



Forgiveness, Children, Adolescent, Japanese, Emotion, Cultural difference