Vengefully ever after: Destiny beliefs, state attachment anxiety, and forgiveness

Eli J. Finkel*, Jeni L. Burnette, Lauren E. Scissors

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Two studies examined how destiny beliefs (that potential relationships are or are not "meant to be") interact with state attachment anxiety to predict forgiveness tendencies. In Study 1, participants experienced an experimental manipulation of attachment anxiety (vs. security) before indicating the degree to which they would forgive a series of hypothetical partner offenses. In Study 2, participants reported every 2 weeks for 6 months (14 waves in total) on offenses enacted by their partner and indicated the degree to which they forgave the partner, both concurrently and 2 weeks later. Consistent with predictions, results revealed Destiny Beliefs State Attachment Anxiety interaction effects: Strong (relative to weak) destiny beliefs predicted reduced forgiveness tendencies for individuals experiencing state attachment anxiety, but such beliefs were not associated with forgiveness for individuals experiencing state attachment security. Results from Study 2 suggest that this interaction effect was significantly mediated through trust in the partner. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)871-886
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Attachment anxiety
  • Destiny
  • Forgiveness
  • Implicit theories of relationships
  • Trust


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