Self-Control and Forgiveness: A Meta-Analytic Review

Jeni L. Burnette, Erin K. Davisson, Eli J. Finkel, Daryl R. Van Tongeren, Chin Ming Hui, Rick H. Hoyle

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In the 12 years since scholars first investigated the link between self-control and forgiveness (Finkel & Campbell, 2001), the literature investigating this relation has grown rapidly. The present article reports a meta-analytic review of this link across 40 independent samples and 5,105 independent observations. In addition, it investigates an array of potential moderators. Results revealed that the overall link between self-control and forgiveness is statistically robust and small to moderate in magnitude (r = .18). Consistent with the prevailing theoretical models, this link is stronger when forgiveness is assessed in terms of low vengeance (resisting retaliation: r = .31) rather than in terms of high benevolence (fostering prosociality: r = .16). Discussion focuses on the potentially crucial role of forgiveness, especially vengeance inhibition, in linking self-control to relationship well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-450
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • benevolence
  • forgiveness
  • meta-analysis
  • self-control
  • vengeance


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-Control and Forgiveness: A Meta-Analytic Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this