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The Influence of Decisional and Emotional Forgiveness on Attributions

Lichtenfeld, S.; Maier, M.; Buechner, V.; Fernández Capo, M.

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M. Maier

V. Buechner

M. Fernández Capo


Research on forgiveness suggests that forgiveness is an emotion-focused coping process important for clinical settings as it can promote both physical and mental health [1, 2]. Investigating antecedents of forgiveness, empirical studies and theoretical models propose that attributions influence forgiveness. However, hardly any studies or theoretical models have ever looked at the possibility that this relationship may be reciprocal in nature and investigated if forgiveness also impacts a victim’s attributions. The present, highly powered (n=969) study seeks to fill this gap and provides the first empirical support that emotional forgiveness has a strong influence on subsequent attributions. Specifically, individuals, who have emotionally forgiven a transgression, hold the transgressor less responsible for the offense compared to those in the decisional forgiveness and the control condition. Moreover, the findings conceptually replicate previous research [3] by demonstrating that emotional but not decisional forgiveness affect cognition and thus, emotional and decisional forgiveness should be treated as distinct facets in the forgiveness process. Implications of these results for clinical and health psychology are discussed.


Lichtenfeld, S., Maier, M., Buechner, V., & Fernández Capo, M. (2019). The Influence of Decisional and Emotional Forgiveness on Attributions. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, Article 1425.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 3, 2019
Online Publication Date Jun 25, 2019
Publication Date Jun 25, 2019
Deposit Date Jun 6, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jun 26, 2019
Journal Frontiers in Psychology
Print ISSN 1664-1078
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Article Number 1425


Published Journal Article (369 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2019 Lichtenfeld, Maier, Buechner and Fernández Capo. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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