Self-Forgiveness, Mental Health, and Addictive and Suicidal Behaviors in the Caribbean: Addressing Big Questions and Opening New Vistas
TWCF Number
Project Duration
March 15 / 2022
- March 14 / 2025
Core Funding Area
Character Virtue Development
North America
Amount Awarded

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Loren Toussaint
Institution Luther College

The twin-island country of Trinidad and Tobago has high levels of mental illness, substance use, and suicidal behavior. High rates of suicide, substance use/abuse, and mental illness derive from and contribute to self-condemnation and hopelessness. Promoting self-forgiveness to reduce these self-destructive behaviors might seem self-evident, but the cultural relevance and utility of self-forgiveness in the Caribbean has not yet been studied. This project aims to examine the potential of the REACH self-forgiveness intervention as a tool to alleviate emotional distress, improve mental health and reduce addictive and suicidal behaviors in Trinidad and Tobago. 

Four studies within the project include:

  1. An examination of individuals’ motivations to improve self-forgiveness and perceptions of feasibility of this improvement.
  2. A cultural adaptation study of the REACH Self-Forgiveness intervention, in which a small sample of college and community participants will progress through the REACH Self-Forgiveness intervention and evaluate the intervention for its cultural appropriateness. This study will use focus groups, cognitive interviewing, and qualitative data from the intervention review.
  3.  A cross-cultural validity study examining measures of self-forgiveness, in particular, but also substance use and mental health for reliability and validity.
  4. An evaluation of the REACH Self-Forgiveness intervention among students and community members in Trinidad and Tobago.

The anticipated outputs from this proposal include a number of peer-reviewed journal articles capturing the outcomes of the studies, two conferences, and a website and social media products to disseminate the results to a wide audience.

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