The role of rejection sensitivity, attachment, and attributions in forgiveness of romantic partners
Jackson, Melanie Hope
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Individual vulnerabilities and attributions were examined in relation to forgiveness in intimate relationships. Individual vulnerability was operationalized as rejection sensitivity and insecure attachment. Participants were college students currently in intimate relationships of at least 3 months. They completed measures of attachment and rejection sensitivity, then described an event from their current relationship when they were hurt by their partner, which was coded for severity. They answered questions regarding attributions for the event and the likelihood that they would forgive their partner, and provided definitions of forgiveness. Rejection sensitivity moderated the relationship between objective severity and ease of forgiveness, but insecure attachment did not. Objective severity remained a significant predictor of forgiveness when attributions were tested as a mediator. An alternative mediational model was tested, revealing that ease of forgiveness mediates the relationship between objective severity and event attributions. Definitions of forgiveness were examined qualitatively, revealing five major categories of definitions.