Forgiveness, mood, and attachment style

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Clinical Psychology


Department of Psychology


Advisor: Mark S. Rye


This study examined the role of attachment and mood when forgiving a romantic partner. Participants (N=164) were recruited from introductory psychology classes at a medium-sized Midwestern Catholic university and a Northeastern liberal arts college. Participants completed self-report questionnaires assessing Forgiveness, Depression, Attachment Style, Anger Rumination, and Forgiveness Perspectives. Consistent with hypotheses, Anger Rumination mediated the relationship between Forgiveness and Depression, and the relationship between Emotional Benefits and Depression. This study also found that there were differences in several forgiveness measures across attachment styles. Compared to participants with fearful attachment, participants with a secure attachment were more likely to forgive a specific offender and less likely to view the offender's behavior as being caused by personality defects. Participants with a secure attachment style were less likely to view the offense as having a major, negative impact on their lives, as compared to individuals with fearful attachment or preoccupied attachment. Contrary to hypothesis, dispositional forgiveness did not vary by attachment style. Implications and study limitations are discussed.


Forgiveness Psychological aspects Research, Attachment behavior Research, Interpersonal relations Psychological aspects Research

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