Evaluation of an online self‐help version of the REACH forgiveness program: Outcomes and predictors of persistence in a community sample Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:We evaluated outcomes of an online, self-directed REACH forgiveness intervention for community-based adults. Because many participants dropped out before program completion, predictors of program persistence were also examined. METHOD:Participants (N = 130 adults, 122 female; mean age 48) completed pretreatment assessment and were randomized to immediate treatment (IT) or delayed treatment (DT). Twenty-three IT and 13 DT participants completed the 7-hour REACH forgiveness modules and postintervention assessment; 32 participants completed 3-month follow-up. RESULTS:The IT group reported greater postintervention improvements in overall forgiveness and emotional forgiveness, as well as reductions in avoidance motivations with large effect sizes and, marginally, state empathy; but revenge motivations, decisional forgiveness, and well-being indicators did not change. Most postintervention improvements were maintained at 3-month follow-up. In this online intervention, persistence was predicted by perspective taking, willingness to forgive the offender, and conscientiousness. Three-month follow-up supported maintenance of gains, particularly in overall and emotional forgiveness, and increases in trait forgiveness compared to pretreatment. CONCLUSION:An online self-directed version of REACH forgiveness applied in a community sample has potential for improving forgiveness-related responses, particularly those involving emotional forgiveness. However, methods to increase program persistence and target suitable recipients need development.

publication date

  • 2018