Personality and self-forgiveness

The roles of shame, guilt, empathy and conciliatory behavior

Anita R. Rangganadhan, Natasha Todorov

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    48 Citations (Scopus)


    The focus of this paper is on the somewhat neglected component of the forgiveness construct, self-forgiveness, and its relationship to shame, guilt, empathy, and conciliatory behavior. A section of a theoretical model of selfforgiveness, proposed by Hall and Fincham (2005), was compared with a new model, to ascertain the role these emotional and behavioral factors played in influencing self-forgiveness. Participants were 91 first-year undergraduate psychology students and a community sample of 59 who completed self-report measures of each variable. Structural equation modeling revealed that the Hall and Fincham model did not provide an adequate fit to the empirical data until the covariance between shame and guilt was incorporated into the model. Unlike their findings, shame-proneness and personal distress empathy, rather than guilt and other-oriented empathy, emerged as the key personality traits involved in inhibiting self-forgiveness. A new model emphasizing these findings is presented and implications for future research are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-22
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010

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