Perkins Speaks of Forgiveness – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Perkins Speaks of Forgiveness

Wesley Perkins, professor of sociology, presented a paper on forgiveness and well-being in the adult life course at a conference of the International Association for the Psychology of Religion on Aug. 26 in Vienna, Austria.  His research demonstrates the significant contribution of the practice of forgiving both others and oneself in life experiences in reducing psychological distress and poor health.  It also examines the contribution of adults’ spiritual interests to their ability to be forgiving. 

The study is part of Perkins’ larger ongoing research project on adult well-being in post-collegiate life based on a large sample of HWS graduates.  This particular study included data collected from graduates in their young  to middle-aged lives at three time points between 1999 and 2008, and included nine graduating cohorts ranging from the classes of 1979 to the classes of 2006. 

Building on his research on graduates, and with the aid of a John Templeton Foundation grant, Perkins has been involved in a project to understand “Forgiveness, Health and Well-Being in the Lives of Post-Collegiate Young Adults.” In this project, of which the study is a part, he has conducted in-depth interviews as well as broad-based surveys of adults in their 20s to 40s focusing on how they define, practice, or struggle with forgiving others and themselves and how this is directly related to personal health.  More information about Perkins’ Post-Collegiate Life Project is online:

Perkins received the B.A. in sociology from Purdue University, the M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, and the M.A., M. Phil., and Ph.D. in sociology from Yale University.