Rumination, emotion, and forgiveness: Three longitudinal studies

Michael E. McCullough, Giacomo Bono, Lindsey M. Root

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

194 Scopus citations


In 3 studies, the authors investigated whether within-persons increases in rumination about an interpersonal transgression were associated with within-persons reductions in forgiveness. Results supported this hypothesis. The association of transient increases in rumination with transient reductions in forgiveness appeared to be mediated by anger, but not fear, toward the transgressor. The association of rumination and forgiveness was not confounded by daily fluctuations in positive affect and negative affect, and it was not moderated by trait levels of positive affectivity, negative affectivity, or perceived hurtfulness of the transgression. Cross-lagged associations of rumination and forgiveness in Study 3 more consistently supported the proposition that increased rumination precedes reductions in forgiveness than the proposition that increased forgiveness precedes reductions in rumination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)490-505
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Emotion
  • Forgiveness
  • Longitudinal
  • Personality
  • Rumination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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