When forgiving enhances psychological well-being: the role of interpersonal commitment

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2003 May;84(5):1011-26. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.84.5.1011.


The present research addresses the question of when and why forgiving might enhance psychological well-being. The authors predict that forgiving is associated with enhanced well-being but that this association should be more pronounced in relationships of strong rather than weak commitment. This hypothesis received good support in Studies 1-3. Studies 2 and 3 addressed the issue of why forgiving might be associated with psychological well-being, revealing that this association was reduced after controlling for psychological tension (i.e., a psychological state of discomfort due to conflicting cognitions and feelings). Study 4 revealed that in the context of marital relationships, tendencies toward forgiving one's spouse exhibited a more pronounced association with psychological well-being than did tendencies to forgive others in general.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Self Concept
  • Spouses / psychology
  • Spouses / statistics & numerical data
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Students / psychology