The Effects of Post-Trangression Responses on Apology
Guilfoyle, Joshua Robert
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Individuals struggle with offering an apology following a transgression. The present research examined how victims’ post-transgression response (PTR; forgiveness, grudge, revenge) interacts with PTR expression (direct and indirect) to affect offenders’ willingness to apologize. Additionally, social pain and self-control were tested as mediators within this relationship. Results demonstrated that victims’ PTRs interacted with PTR expression to differentially affect offenders’ apologies. Indirect forgiveness and direct unforgiveness were more likely to facilitate apologies compared to direct forgiveness and indirect unforgiveness. Moderated-mediation analyses demonstrated that social pain mediated the relation between victim PTRs and PTR expression on apology. Specifically, when expressed directly, unforgiving responses led offenders to experience greater social pain, which in turn, prompted them to apologize. Those who received indirect forgiveness compared to direct forgiveness experienced greater social pain, which in turn, led to higher apology. Self-control did not mediate the relation. Implications for victims’ PTRs and offenders’ apologies are discussed.