Interpersonal forgiving in close relationships: II. Theoretical elaboration and measurement.

M. E. McCullough, K. C. Rachal, S. J. Sandage, E. L. Worthington, S. W. Brown, T. L. Hight

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1029 Scopus citations


Interpersonal forgiving was conceptualized in the context of a 2-factor motivational system that governs people's responses to interpersonal offenses. Four studies were conducted to examine the extent to which forgiving could be predicted with relationship-level variables such as satisfaction, commitment, and closeness; offense-level variables such as apology and impact of the offense; and social-cognitive variables such as offender-focused empathy and rumination about the offense. Also described is the development of the transgression-related interpersonal motivations inventory--a self-report measure designed to assess the 2-component motivational system (Avoidance and Revenge) posited to underlie forgiving. The measure demonstrated a variety of desirable psychometric properties, commending its use for future research. As predicted, empathy, apology, rumination, and several indexes of relationship closeness were associated with self-reported forgiving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1586-1603
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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