Interpersonal transgressions and psychological loss: Understanding moral repair as dyadic, reciprocal, and interactionist

Curr Opin Psychol. 2022 Apr:44:7-11. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2021.08.018. Epub 2021 Aug 20.


Following interpersonal transgressions, both victims and offenders can experience psychological loss owing to threatened needs for agency and moral-social identity. Moral repair is the process by which these losses are restored. Rather than involving only intraindividual static processes, research is starting to recognize that moral repair is dyadic, reciprocal, and interactionist. It involves the victim and offender coengaging with one another, reciprocally responding to the other's psychological needs, and coconstructing a shared understanding of what has occurred, their relationship, and a way forward. Each of these steps represents periods of vulnerability where the losses of a transgression can be repaired - or exacerbated.

Keywords: Dyads; Justice; Moral repair; Offenders; Psychological needs; Relationship conflict; Transgressions; Victims.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Criminals*
  • Humans
  • Morals*
  • Social Identification