Date of Award

8-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Kristina Gordon

Committee Members

John Lounsbury, Richard Saudargas

Abstract

Most past research on interpersonal forgiveness has emphasized qualities of the betrayed partner (e.g. trait forgiveness, dispositional empathy, narcissism) or relationship factors (e.g., relational closeness) in predicting forgiveness. However, research has rarely considered characteristics of the offender as predictors of forgiveness, as when a victim comes to wish the offender well and feel warmth toward him/her, and unforgiveness, as when a victim avoids or retaliates against an offender. Therefore the current project sought to assess the unique contribution of offenders’ personality over and above the aforementioned established predictors of forgiveness and unforgiveness outcomes on the Transgression-Related Interpersonal Motivations (TRIM) inventory. It was expected that offender variables (such as high narcissism, low dispositional empathy, low honesty-humility, and high agreeableness) would account for additional, unique variance in predicting forgiveness beyond the known correlates of forgiveness and unforgiveness (e.g., high relational closeness to offender, low betrayal severity, high trait forgiveness, low narcissism). Results for TRIM Benevolence and Avoidance, but not TRIM Revenge, were consistent with the study’s hypothesis, such that offender variables contributed significant unique variance above established predictors. Implications for the study of offender variables are discussed, as well as future directions research might consider.

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