Masters Thesis

Age, commitment, emotional painfulness of a transgression, and forgiveness in a romantic relationship

Prior research has posited that forgiveness has many benefits. Forgiveness is said to reduce depression and anxiety, improve physical health, promote closeness, and be used as a self-repair strategy in a romantic relationship. The present research examined age, commitment, type of transgression, and forgiveness within a romantic relationship. I hypothesized that a) older adults would be more likely to forgive than younger adults; b) emotional painfulness of a transgression would be a predictor of one’s willingness to forgive; c) the more committed a person is to their partner, the more willing they would be to forgive. Participants (N = 636) were recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (M-TURK), and the California State University, Stanislaus online participant management system (SONA). Participants were asked if they were in a romantic relationship, and if so, had they experienced a transgression in their romantic relationship within the past 14 days. Participants were then asked if they forgave their partner. Age was not a significant predictor of forgiveness, but that may have been due to a restricted age range. Emotional painfulness and commitment were associated with forgiveness in the expected directions. The findings in this study continues to point in the direction that emotional painfulness and commitment are predictors of one’s willingness to forgive.