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Self-forgiveness has been defined as âa set of motivational changes whereby one becomes decreasingly motivated to retaliate against the self, and increasingly motivated to act benevolently toward the selfâ (Fincham & Hall, 2005, 622). Studies by Heinze & Snyder (2001) as well as Mauger et al. (1992) suggest that essential to the relationship between psychological well-being and forgiveness is the concept of forgiveness of self. Self-forgiveness has been linked to rumination, a maladaptive coping response to stressful occasions in which one focuses on his or her distress and on possible reasons for as well as the ramifications of the distress (Thompson, Snyder, Hoffman, Rasmussen, Billings, Heinze, Shorey, Roberts, 2005; Nolen-Hoeksema, 1991). Also related to the study of self-forgiveness is the study of perfectionism or âa desire to be perfect, a fear of imperfection, and an emotional conviction that perfection might be the route to personal acceptabilityâ (Greenspon, 2008, p. 280). According to Besser, Flett, and Hewitt (2004), perfectionism is correlated with the ruminative response style classified by Nolen-Hoeksema (1991). Though there is a wealth of research regarding the associations between forgiveness and rumination as well as perfectionism and rumination, all three concepts of self-forgiveness, rumination, and perfectionism have never been studied in conjunction before. Given past research, I hypothesize that rumination mediates the relationship between perfectionism and self-forgiveness. More specifically, I predict that increased levels of perfectionism will be associated with increased levels of rumination, which, in turn, will result in decreased levels of self-forgiveness.

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Honors Thesis

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Lee J. Dixon

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Stander Symposium poster

The Mediating Effects of Rumination on the Relationship between Perfectionism and Self-forgiveness