Vengefulness: Relationships with forgiveness, rumination, well-being, and the big five

Michael E. McCullough, C. Garth Bellah, Shelley Dean Kilpatrick, Judith L. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

366 Scopus citations


Because forgiveness theory has tended to neglect the role of dispositional factors, the authors present novel theorizing about the nature of vengefulness (the disposition to seek revenge following interpersonal offenses) and its relationship to forgiveness and other variables. In Study 1, vengefulness was correlated cross-sectionally with (a) less forgiving, (b) greater rumination about the offense, (c) higher negative affectivity, and (d) lower life satisfaction. Vengefulness at baseline was negatively related to change in forgiving throughout an 8-week follow-up. In Study 2, vengefulness was negatively associated with Agreeableness and positively associated with Neuroticism. Measures of the Big Five personality factors explained 30% of the variance in vengefulness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-610
Number of pages10
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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