Stanford-Northern Ireland Hope 2 Project


Frederic Luskin, Ph.D., Reverend Byron Bland

February 2001


Degree of Hurt Measure 6.5 (2.5) 4.1 (2.8)*
Spielberger Trait Anger 19.9 (6.2) 17.8 (5.0)
Cohen’s Perceived Stress 24.1 (6.3) 21.1 (7.5)
CES Depression Scale 30.5 (8.4) 24.4 (6.5)*
Symptoms of Stress 22.7 (11.0) 14.8 (9.5)*
Vitality Plus Scale 33.3 (8.0) 37.3 (6.9)*
Rye’s Forgiveness Scale 47.4 (10.9) 49.6 (12.5)
* p < 0.05


Seventeen Protestant and Catholic men and women from Northern Ireland, who had an immediate family member murdered, were provided a week of forgiveness training at Stanford University. There were 9 Catholics and 8 Protestants who attended the 7 days of group forgiveness training. Participants included people who had parents, children, spouses and siblings murdered in the ongoing sectarian violence.

On the Degree of Hurt Measure, which asks participants to rate their current experience of hurt on a scale of 1-10 there was a significant decrease between the Pre and Post-test assessments.

The Spielberger Trait Anger scale asked the people to rate from 1-4 how often they generally felt different aspects of anger. Their average score changed from 20 to <18 after the week at Stanford for a decline of 12%.

On the Perceived Stress scale, which measures the group’s ability to cope with the stress in their lives the group showed a 14% decline that was marginally significant (p < 0.08).

There was a significant 20% decline in reported symptoms of depression that reflects both the physical and psychological manifestation of depression.

On the SCL-90 Somatic and Other subscales participants reported a significant 35% decline in symptoms of stress (dizziness, headache, stomach ache. etc.).

On the Vitality Plus Scale participants reported a significant improvement in their experience of physical vitality. This measures energy level, appetite, sleep patterns, and general well being.

The Rye Forgiveness Measure showed interesting results. Two participants reported less forgiveness at Post Test than they did at Pre-Test. The other 15 participants demonstrated a significant increase in forgiveness towards the person who murdered their loved one.