Construct validity of two measures of self-forgiveness in Portugal: a study of self-forgiveness, psychological symptoms, and well-being


  • Liliana Costa ISMAI-University Institute of Maia, Maia, Portugal; CPUP-Center for Psychology at University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.
  • Everett L. Worthington, Jr. VCU-Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia, United States.
  • Cristina Cavadas Montanha ISMAI-University Institute of Maia, Maia, Portugal.
  • Ana Bela Couto ISMAI-University Institute of Maia, Maia, Portugal; CPUP-Center for Psychology at University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.
  • Carla Cunha | ISMAI-University Institute of Maia, Maia, Portugal; CPUP-Center for Psychology at University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.


Several studies have suggested that self-forgiveness promotes psychological well-being. The state self-forgiveness scale (SSFS) and the differentiated self-forgiveness process scale (DSFPS) are two self-report questionnaires that assess self-forgiveness in psychotherapy, personal change, and health. The present study aims to examine the psychometric properties of the SSFS and the DSFPS in a Portuguese sample, highlighting reliability and validity properties for scores on both scales. We examine the relationships among self-forgiveness, self-criticism, psychological well-being, and global psychopathological symptoms. The two scales were completed in a random nonclinical sample of 475 University students. The psychological well-being scale was used to explore the relation between self-forgiveness and well-being. Our findings show evidence of a good estimated internal consistency for scores on both scales - SSFS and DSFPS. Self-forgiveness is related to higher indexes of positive feelings (e.g., self-compassion, self-esteem) such as positive behaviors and beliefs about the self. Thus, self-criticism (e.g., hated self) tends to decrease while self-forgiveness feelings and actions, as well as positive feelings of the self (self-compassion; self-love) tends to increase. In clinical practice these are positive indicators, which can lead to personal improvement, as well as positive affect and lower symptomatology (e.g., symptoms of depression).



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How to Cite
Costa, L., Worthington, Jr., E. L., Cavadas Montanha, C., Couto, A. B., & Cunha, C. (2021). Construct validity of two measures of self-forgiveness in Portugal: a study of self-forgiveness, psychological symptoms, and well-being. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome, 24(1).