Graduate Publishes Research on Apologies and Forgiveness

HIGH POINT, N.C., Dec. 22, 2014 – Monica Johnson, a 2014 graduate of High Point University, recently published research she completed during her time in the Psychology program. Her article on apologies and forgiveness was one of 18 projects included in Explorations, The Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities for the State of North Carolina.

While working alongside Dr. Deborah Danzis, psychology professor at HPU, Johnson studied the factors that influence forgiveness and the acceptance of apologies when a transgression is committed by a friend or an acquaintance. She found that a person’s willingness to accept an apology or forgive someone depends on the severity of the offense and the closeness of the relationship with the other person. Her research also revealed that relationships affect anger.

“My research supports the notion that you will be angrier with a friend when they commit a serious transgression against you, rather than an acquaintance,” Johnson says.

Danzis, who helped Johnson interpret her results and prepare them for publication, says this experience will help prepare her for graduate school and a career in psychology.

“As a psychology student, it is very important that Monica develop skills and abilities as a researcher, as that is the foundation of knowledge in our field,” Danzis says. “Her research adds new knowledge to our understanding of how people respond to various types of slights or betrayals. There is a general movement now promoting forgiveness, which is certainly beneficial for people’s mental health and functioning. However, we don’t have a great understanding of the variables that contribute to a person’s ability or likelihood of forgiving someone else. Monica’s research explores some of the relevant issues on the topic.”

Johnson plans to attend graduate school full time next fall to obtain a doctorate in counseling psychology or clinical psychology.

“High Point University gave me the resources and the support that I needed to publish my first academic research as an undergraduate,” says Johnson. “Dr. Danzis was exceptionally influential in the success of this research. It was during her class that I conducted my research, and through her mentorship I was able to continue my work in the subsequent semesters. I’d also like to acknowledge my advisor, Dr. Greggory Hundt, for encouraging me to pursue my own research.”


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