The relationship of self and other-forgiveness to interpersonal stress reactivity and recovery

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Forgiveness, Reactivity, Recovery, Stress, Self, Other

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The relationship of self and other-forgiveness to reactivity to and recovery from interpersonally relevant stress tasks as measured by changes in self-reported anger, heart rate, and blood pressure were assessed in this correlational study. Interpersonally relevant stress was operationalized using two interview tasks during which participants were asked to describe an interpersonal transgression that occurred to them and a time when they were the perpetrator of an interpersonal transgression. It was hypothesized that those who are high in self and other-forgiveness would show less reactivity and quicker recovery to the interpersonal stressor stimuli than those who are low in both types of forgiveness. It was also predicted that self-forgiveness would be a stronger predictor of reactivity and recovery than other-forgiveness in both tasks. Data were analyzed through multiple regression analysis, with self and other-forgiveness entered as the main predictors of reactivity and recovery. None of the hypotheses was supported. However, self and other-forgiveness were shown to operate separately and in different ways on cardiovascular measures. It was concluded that the interpersonal interviews were not stressful enough for participants to show a relationship between forgiveness and cardiovascular measures.