How does forgiveness predict the likelihood of reoffending? One survey study, one experiment, one 4-year longitudinal study, and one 2-week diary study examined the implications of forgiveness for reoffending in relationships.
In all four studies, agreeableness interacted with partner forgiveness to predict subsequent offending; partner forgiveness was negatively associated with subsequent offending among more agreeable people but positively associated with subsequent offending among less agreeable people.
Furthermore, Study 4 demonstrated a unique mechanism of each simple effect; relatively agreeable people engaged in fewer transgressions against more forgiving partners because they felt obligated to refrain from transgressing against such partners whereas relatively disagreeable people engaged in more transgressions against more forgiving partners because they perceived those partners were less easily angered.
These studies indicate that completely understanding the intrapersonal and interpersonal consequences of forgiveness requires recognizing the dyadic nature of forgiveness and attending to qualities of the offender.
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- 1Florida State University, Tallahassee, USA firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2North Carolina State University, Raleigh, USA.
- Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2016 Mar 30. pii: 0146167216637841.
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