The Road to Forgiveness: A Meta-Analytic Synthesis of its Situational and Dispositional Correlates
31 Pages Posted: 21 May 2010
Forgiveness has received widespread attention among psychologists from social, personality, clinical, developmental and organizational perspectives alike. Despite great progress, the forgiveness literature has witnessed few attempts at empirical integration. Toward this end, we meta-analyze results from 175 studies and 26,006 participants to examine the correlates of interpersonal forgiveness (i.e. forgiveness of a single offender by a single victim). A tripartite forgiveness typology is proposed, encompassing victims’ cognitions, affect, and constraints following offense. Hypotheses are tested with respect to 22 unique constructs that have been measured across different fields within psychology. Key sample and study characteristics including gender, age, time, and methodology are also assessed as main effects and moderators. Results highlight the multifaceted nature of forgiveness, which is related to each factor within the proposed tripartite typology and 20 of the 22 modeled constructs. Sample and study characteristics yielded negligible effects on forgiveness, despite previous theorizing to the contrary. Preliminary evidence suggests that methodology may exhibit some moderating effects. Scenario methodologies strengthened the role of cognitions while recall methodologies strengthened the role of affect.
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