Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis






The ability to forgive an individual who has wronged one self has been found to relate to one's appraisal of the severity of the wrong or transgression (Boon & Holmes, 1999). The more severe a transgression is appraised, the less likely one is to forgive the transgression. However, some individuals who experience severe transgressions are able to forgive while others are not. This study evaluated rumination as a mediator in the relationship between transgression severity and interpersonal forgiveness. In other words, repeated, intrusive cognitions about an event (i.e., rumination), was proposed as one factor which may partially explain this variability in individuals' likelihood to forgive severe transgressions. One-hundred and thirty nine students participated in this study by completing a web-based questionnaire. Participants described an experience they had in the past 12 months in which they were wronged and/or hurt. Transgression severity was assessed by participants' subjective appraisal and a criteria-based measure which was developed. Participants' thoughts, images and/or feelings related to the transgression were assessed by several quantitative measures as well as a qualitative measure. Overall, study results supported a mediating role of rumination in the relationship between transgression severity and likelihood to forgive. Discussed are the clinical implications of rumination as a forgiveness-hindering variable and the possibility of intervening at the level of the rumination.