Forgiveness contributes to the moral licensing effect in a multiple victim context

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McCaffrey, Alexander




Although forgiveness is often a psychologically beneficial response, in the current research, I tested a novel consequence of granting forgiveness: a moral license to commit subsequent deviant acts. I tested this possibility in a multiple victim context. I hypothesized that people would express the greatest willingness to act in a deviant manner when all victims (the participant and the other victims) grant the transgressor forgiveness. I also anticipated the feeling pride (i.e., feeling good about one's accomplishments) following forgiveness would mediate the hypothesized moderation effect. Support for the proposed mediated-moderation model was found in two studies using a multiple victim workplace transgression as context. (NStudy 1 = 359, NStudy 2 = 417) . Results contributed to both the literature on the consequences of forgiveness and moral licensing by providing evidence that granting forgiveness may, perhaps counter-intuitively, result in the forgiver engaging in subsequent immoral behaviour.


Psychology - Social




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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