Robert Enright

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Educational Psychology
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Robert Enright

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Robert Enright

Educational Psychology (EdPsych)

863H Educational Sciences  binoculars icon
1025 West Johnson Street
Madison, WI 53706-1706
Office: 608/262-0835
Fax: 608/262-0843

Personal Biography

Professor Enright has pioneered the scientific study of forgiveness, which now claims over 1,000 researchers worldwide. He has been honored with a Vilas Associateship Award, the Dean’s Club Faculty Achievement Award, and the campus-wide Hilldale Award in the Social Studies Division for his research on forgiveness. His National Conference on Forgiveness was the first of its kind on any university campus. His various research grants have centered on moral development. One of the most gifted teachers on campus, Dr. Enright is a recipient of the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award and the Wisconsin Student Association Teaching Award. He teaches courses in moral development with an emphasis on the psychology of forgiveness. He is a popular speaker on the moral development of forgiveness, with his work appearing in such outlets as Time magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and ABC’s 20/20. He is a former member of the editorial board of Child Development and is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Early Adolescence.



Non-Credit Teaching

  • Description: I led two workshops on forgiveness education for teachers in Belfast, Northern Ireland and one for teachers in Milwaukee’s central city.
    Start Date: 2008, End Date: 2008

Research Interests

My research interests center on moral development, particularly the development of forgiveness. There are three primary research projects concerning forgiveness on which students and I are working. One is a process model that postulates a series of steps involved in one person forgiving another. My students and I are currently developing a series of interventions on forgiveness aimed at youth and adults who have suffered from various kinds of interpersonal injustice. The second project is the development of a scale to measure forgiveness. We have examined the validity of this scale in six different cultures to date. The scale is published by Mind Garden. The third area of research centers on the development of forgiveness education materials for children in violent and impoverished environments. We have tested the effectiveness of the forgiveness education approach in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for example.


  • Osterndorf, C., Enright, R.D., Holter, A., & Klatt, J. Treating adult children of alcoholics through forgiveness therapy. Unpublished Manuscript, University of Wisconsin, Madison. 29, 274-292.
  • Lee, Y., & Enright, R.D. Fathers' forgiveness as a moderator between perceived unfair treatment by a family of origin member and anger with own children. Unpublished Manuscript, University of Wisconsin, Madison. 17, 22-31.
  • Klatt, J., & Enright, R.D. Investigating the place of forgiveness within the Positive Youth Development paradigm. Unpublished Manuscript, University of Wisconsin, Madison. 38, 35-52.
  • Waltman, M.A., Russell, D.C., Coyle, C.T., Enright, R.D., Holter, A.C., & Swoboda, C. (2009). The effects of forgiveness intervention on patients with coronary artery disease. Psychology and Health. 24, 11-27.
  • Gambaro, M., Enright, R.D., Baskin, T., & Klatt, J. (2008). Can school-based forgiveness counseling improve conduct and academic achievement in academically at-risk adolescents? Journal of Research in Education. 18, 16-27.
  • Enright, R.D., & Knutson Enright, J.A. (2008). Discovering forgiveness: A guided curriculum for children ages 6-8. In C.W. LeCroy (Eds.), Handbook of evidence-based treatment manuals for children and adolescents. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Enright, R.D., & Knutson, J. (2008). Must the gravely offended forgive? In Character. Fall.
  • Magnuson, C., & Enright, R.D. (2008). The church as forgiving community: An initial model. Journal of Psychology and Theology. 36, 114-123.
  • Holter, A., Magnuson, C., Knutson, C., Knutson Enright, J., & Enright, R.D. (2008). The forgiving child: The impact of forgiveness education on excessive anger for elementary-aged children in Milwaukee’s central city. Journal of Research in Education. 18, 82-93.
  • Knutson, J.A., Enright, R.D., & Garbers, B. (2008). Validating the developmental pathway of forgiveness. Journal of Counseling and Development. 86, 193-199.
  • Enright, R.D., Knutson Enright, J., Holter, A., Baskin, T., & Knutson, C. (2008). Waging peace through forgiveness in Belfast, Northern Ireland III. Journal of Research in Education. 18, 128-131.
  • Knutson, J.A., & Enright, R.D. (2007). Be your best self (with an emphasis on giving and receiving forgiveness). Madison, WI: International Forgiveness Institute.
  • McKay, K.M., Hill, M.S., Freedman, S.R., & Enright, R.D. (2007). Towards a feminist empowerment model of forgiveness in psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, 44, 14-29.
  • Enright, R.D., Knutson, J.A., Holter, A.C., Baskin, T., & Knutson, C. (2007). Waging peace through forgiveness in Belfast, Northern Ireland II: Educational programs for mental health improvement of children. Journal of Research in Education, pp. 63-78.
  • Enright, R.D. (2006). Be your best self: A guided curriculum for students, ages 11-13. Madison, WI: International Forgiveness Institute.
  • Orathinkal, J., Vansteenwegen, A., Stroobants, R., & Enright, R.D. (2006). Further validation of the Dutch version of the EFI. Community Mental Health Journal.
  • Knutson, J.A., & Enright, R.D. (2006). Joyful forgiveness: A guided curriculum for children, ages 9-12. Madison, WI: International Forgiveness Institute.
  • Holter, A.C., Magnuson, C., & Enright, R.D. Forgiveness intervention and assessment. Manuscript submitted for publication. New York: Springer.
  • Holter, A.C., Magnuson, C., & Enright, R.D. Forgiveness is a matter of choice. Manuscript submitted for publication. Westport, CT: Praeger.


  • Lee, Y., & Enright, R.D. (2008). Fathers' forgiveness of a family of origin member, Annual Meeting, American Psychological Association, Boston, MA.
  • Enright, R.D., & Holter, A.C. (2007). Forgiveness education: Anger reduction for elementary-aged children in impoverished communities served by the Alliance for Catholic Education, American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.
  • Enright, R.D., Presenter & Author, & Knutson Enright, J.A. (2006, December 5). Forgiveness principles and practices, University of Wisconsin Outreach, Milwaukee, WI.
  • Enright, R.D., Presenter & Author, Knutson Enright, J.A., & Holter, A.C. (2006, November 7). Turning from resentment to community friendship: Forgiveness education in post-accord Belfast, Strategic Peace-Building Conference, 20th Anniversary Conference of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame.
  • Enright, R.D. Psychological science of forgiveness: Implications for psychotherapy and education, Neuroscienza e Azione Morale, Rome Italy, Neuroscienza e Azione Morale,, Rome, Italy.
  • Enright, R.D. Building a psychology of forgiveness: Implications for psychotherapy and education, Invited address, University of Padua, Italy, University of Padua, Padua, Italy.
  • Enright, R.D., Presenter Only Forgiveness education in conflict zones, World Youth Alliance Conference, World Youth Alliance, Yale University.
  • Enright, R.D., Presenter Only Forgiveness: The missing piece to the peace puzzle, National Peace Conference, Marquette University, Marquette University.
  • Enright, R.D., Presenter Only Forgiveness therapy, Italian Catholic Association of Psychiatrists and Psychologists, same as above, Florence, Italy.
  • Lee, Y., Presenter & Author, & Enright, R.D., Author Only The association between childhood abuse and fibromyalgia syndrome: Implications for forgiveness education with fibromyalgia patients., American Educational Research Association, AERA, San Diego, CA.

Awards and Honors

  • Distinguished Peace Educator of the Year Award, 2008-2009,
    Organization: Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies
    Date(s): September 1, 2008 - August 31, 2009
  • Hilldale Award - Social Sciences Division
    Organization: University of Wisconsin
    Purpose: Scholarship/Research
    Date(s): 2007
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