School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)


Jichan J. Kim


self-forgiveness, self-compassion, self-condemnation, self-esteem


Counseling | Psychology


Two studies explored the relationship between self-compassion and self-forgiveness as well as the role of self-esteem, self-condemnation, and gender in that relationship. Since self-forgiveness is associated with greater well-being, the studies’ importance included gaining knowledge to increase well-being by investigating factors that contribute to self-forgiveness. Research questions were if the relationship between self-compassion and self-forgiveness was mediated by self-esteem and self-condemnation and if gender moderated those mediations. Two quantitative correlational studies, of 94 MTurk and 114 social media participants, used online Qualtrics surveys with established measurements to collect data. Associations, mediators, and moderators were examined by bivariate correlations, mediation analysis, and moderated mediation analysis. Results of both studies showed support for the parallel mediation model, but there was support only for the mediating role of self-esteem, not for the mediating role of self-condemnation. There was no support for moderated mediation by gender, but some gender differences were found in the self-forgiveness process. Implications included that existing theories and future interventions may be informed to address roles of self-compassion, self-esteem, and self-condemnation as well as gender-related differences in the self-forgiveness process. By knowledge gained, new education, interventions, and self-help materials addressing cognitions, framing, and concepts of self-compassion and self-forgiveness can be established to increase the well-being of individuals. Successful navigation of the self-forgiveness process can lead to increased freedom in individuals’ lives.