What determines forgiveness in close relationships? The role of post-transgression trust
SourceBritish Journal of Social Psychology, 56, 1, (2017), pp. 161-180
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI SCP
British Journal of Social Psychology
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being
Relationship closeness is one of the best predictors of forgiveness. But what is the process by which closeness encourages forgiveness? Across three studies, we employed a mix of experimental and correlational designs with prospective (N = 108), scenario (N = 71), and recall (N = 184) paradigms to test a multiple mediation model. We found consistent evidence that the positive association between relationship closeness and forgiveness may be explained by levels of post-transgression trust in the offender. Moreover, trust always played the main mediating role in the forgiveness process, even when taking into account several transgression-specific variables associated with both trust and forgiveness (e.g., apology). We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of trust as a key indicator of forgiveness in close relationships.
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