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Partner-Specific Dependency and Guilt as Predictors of Forgiveness in Spanish University Women

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 April 2019

Ana M. Beltrán-Morillas
Universidad de Granada (Spain)
Inmaculada Valor-Segura*
Universidad de Granada (Spain)
Francisca Expósito
Universidad de Granada (Spain)
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Inmaculada Valor-Segura. Universidad de Granada. Departamento de Psicología Social. Centro de Investigación, Mente, Cerebro y Comportamiento (CIMCYC). 18071 Granada (Spain). E-mail: Telephone: +34–958249611.


Interpersonal transgressions often threaten the stability of the relationship. Within the scope of romantic relationships, physical violence and sexual infidelity have been considered the most difficult transgressions to forgive. Similarly, two variables considered relevant for forgiveness within the context of the couple are partner-specific dependency and the guilt experienced by the offended person. In that way, this research aims to approach the understanding of the forgiveness process of such transgressions. To this end, an experimental study was designed (N = 173 university women; Mage = 21.36, SD = 2.83), by which three indicators of forgiveness corresponding to the Transgression-Related Interpersonal Motivations Scale–18–Item Form (TRIM–18; “Revenge”, “Avoidance” and “Benevolence”), partner-specific dependency and sense of guilt of the offended person were examined in the face of the transgressions of physical violence and sexual infidelity. Results revealed that violence (vs. infidelity) is less forgiven (higher “Revenge”, p = .017, ηp2 = .034). In addition, the results showed that high partner-specific dependency leads to further guilt which, in turn, leads to greater forgiveness towards the partner (less “Avoidance”, CIE = –.094, SE = .042, 95% CI [–.201, –.029]; and higher “Benevolence”, CIE = .080, SE = .037, 95% CI [.024, .173]) in light of violence (vs. infidelity). Last but not least, the previous findings and their possible implications for romantic relationships are discussed.

Research Article
Copyright © Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid 2019 

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This study was made possible by the financing provided the project “New forms of gender violence: Risk and protector factors for the psychological welfare” (Ref. PSI-2017- 84703-R) (MINECO/AEI/FEDER/UE).

How to cite this article:

Beltrán-Morillas, A. M., Valor-Segura, I., & Expósito, F. (2019). Partner-specific dependency and guilt as predictors of forgiveness in Spanish university women. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 22. e19. Doi:10.1017/sjp.2019.19


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