Too proud to let go: Narcissistic entitlement as a barrier to forgiveness

Julie Juola Exline*, Brad J. Bushman, Roy F. Baumeister, W. Keith Campbell, Eli J. Finkel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Narcissistic entitlement impedes forgiveness in ways not captured by other robust predictors (e.g., offense severity, apology, relationship closeness, religiosity, Big Five personality factors), as demonstrated in 6 studies. Narcissistic entitlement involves expectations of special treatment and preoccupation with defending one's rights. In Study 1, entitlement predicted less forgiveness and greater insistence on repayment for a past offense. Complementary results emerged from Study 2, which used hypothetical transgressions, and Study 3, which assessed broad forgiveness dispositions. Study 4 examined associations with the Big Five, and Study 5 extended the findings to a laboratory context. Study 6 demonstrated that entitlement predicted diminished increases in forgiveness over time. Taken together, these results suggest that narcissistic entitlement is a robust, distinct predictor of unforgiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)894-912
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


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