When transgressors intend to cause harm: The empowering effects of revenge and forgiveness on victim well-being

Peter Strelan*, Jan Willem Van Prooijen, Mario Gollwitzer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

When people are transgressed against, they are usually motivated to restore personal power that was threatened by the transgression. We argue and test the new idea that while revenge and forgiveness responses are typically seen as opposites, both may be empowering, depending on the offender’s intent to harm. Across two studies, one experimental (N = 381) and one employing an autobiographical recall paradigm (N = 251), we tested a moderated mediation model. Notably, we found that revenge is empowering at high levels of intent and forgiveness is empowering regardless of intent. Importantly, we also demonstrate that empowerment provides an explanation for the process by which getting revenge and forgiving are each associated with improved affective outcomes for victims.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-469
Number of pages23
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Volume59
Issue number2
Early online date11 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • forgiveness
  • intent
  • power
  • revenge
  • well-being

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'When transgressors intend to cause harm: The empowering effects of revenge and forgiveness on victim well-being'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this