Transgression-related motivational dispositions: Personality substrates of forgiveness and their links to the Big Five

Michael E. McCullough, William T. Hoyt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

199 Scopus citations


Generalizability analyses were used to evaluate the contribution of individual differences to people's transgression-related interpersonal motivations (TRIMs). Individual differences accounted for 22% to 44% of the variance in participants' TRIMs (i.e., avoidance, benevolence, and revenge). Although revenge motivation is apparently more cross-situation ally consistent than either avoidance or benevolence estimating people's dispositions on the basis of their responses to single transgressions will lead to perilously undependable estimates for all three TRIMs. Agreeableness consistently predicted revenge, whereas both Neuroticism and Agreeableness predicted avoidance and benevolence. The association of Neuroticism, but not Agreeableness, with people's TRIMs appeared to be mediated by appraisals of transgression severity. Differences in people's responses to historical versus fictional transgressions suggest that transgression-related motivational dispositions should probably be estimated with responses to historical rather than fictional transgressions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1556-1573
Number of pages18
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

Cite this