Forgiveness Survey, 1999

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > Religious Groups > Members or Leaders > Other > Summary


This is a survey of American adults who are involved in small groups using religious activities in their programs or having activities that may be related to forgiveness. The study was designed by Princeton University professor Robert Wuthnow and conducted by the Gallup Organization in Princeton, New Jersey. Questions focus on a range of potential consequences and correlates of engaging in forgiveness behavior, including group activities, emotional well-being, pro-social and civic behavior, overcoming addictions, and many other issues related to groups and forgiveness.

Data File
Cases: 1,379
Variables: 141
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: November 1998 through February 1999
Funded By
The Templeton Foundation
Sampling Procedures
Taken from Wuthnow, Robert. 2000. “How Religious Groups Promote Forgiving: A National Study.”

This survey uses a nationally representative sample of adults involved in Bible studies, prayer fellowships and other faith-based groups. Ninety percent of the respondents’ groups had some religious content and most of the remainder included self-help or twelve-step groups in which discussions of emotions and social relationships might be present.

“Using random-digit dialing, 4,292 potential respondents were screened to determine whether or not they were involved in relevant groups. Because small supportive groups that include some religious activity exist under a wide variety of rubrics and auspices, two screening questions were used: ‘Do you attend any prayer group meetings or Bible study groups?’ and ‘Are you involved in any other small groups, such as a self-help group, support group, men’s or women’s group, or Sunday school class?’ In all, 1,495 respondents (34.8 percent) answered one or both of these questions affirmatively, and of these, 1,379 (92.9 percent) completed the interview. To establish that most respondents’ groups did in fact have a religious focus or include religious content, respondents were asked if a list of descriptions applied to their group and if their group does any of a list of activities.”
Principal Investigators
Robert Wuthnow
Related Publications
Wuthnow, Robert. 2004. Saving America?: Faith-Based Services and the Future of Civil Society. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Wuthnow, Robert. 2000. “How Religious Groups Promote Forgiving: A National Study.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 36 (June 2000), pp. 125-139.