Granting forgiveness demands self-regulation. Distinct modes of self-regulation might therefore produce distinct routes to forgiveness. Self-regulation focused on advancement (or promotion) could motivate forgiveness through the perceived benefits to be attained by repairing a relationship, i.e., one's trust that a partner will provide such benefits rather than further betrayal. In contrast, self-regulation focused on security (or prevention) could motivate forgiveness through the perceived costs of further relationship deterioration, i.e., one's commitment to maintain a relationship upon which one depends and protect against the loss of this relationship. These hypotheses were supported across two studies that: (a) measured and manipulated promotion-focused versus prevention-focused self-regulation, (b) included real and imagined offenses in casual and close relationships, and (c) assessed forgiveness immediately following an offense and after a two-week delay. Trust in a relationship partner more strongly predicted forgiveness among promotion-focused individuals, whereas commitment to this partner more strongly predicted forgiveness among prevention-focused individuals.
- Interpersonal relationships
- Regulatory focus