Forgiveness and Relational Repair

Authored by: Caryl E. Rusbult , Peggy A. Hannon , Shevaun L. Stocker , Eli J. Finkel

Handbook of Forgiveness

Print publication date:  June  2005
Online publication date:  December  2007

Print ISBN: 9780415949491
eBook ISBN: 9780203955673
Adobe ISBN: 9781135410889


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Many social scientists conceptualize forgiveness as an intrapersonal phenomenon, adopting victim-focused explanations of its causes and consequences. For example, some empirical work has examined the precise cognitive and affective processes by which victims come to forgive those who have perpetrated acts of violence against them; other work has examined the circumstances under which it is beneficial for a victim to forgive such offenses (for a review, see McCullough, 2001). This is well and good—a victim-focused approach may be entirely suitable in settings wherein victim and perpetrator have neither a past nor a future with one another, because in temporally bounded, fundamentally ahistoric settings, the forgiveness process essentially rests on the victim's capacity to “heal the self” and move on.

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