Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair

Mary Radeke

Second Committee Member

Tonya Buchanan

Third Committee Member

Meaghan Nolte


Forgiveness research has suggested that the reduction of negative thoughts and emotions between a victim and perceived transgressor (forgiveness) may be beneficial for close, personal relationships. The current study aimed to examine the influence of perceived remorse and elicited empathy on forgiveness following the occurrence of a hypothetical transgression. It was hypothesized that (a) participants would demonstrate the greatest levels of Forgiveness in the condition of Remorse and Empathy compared to all other conditions, (b) Empathy would increase Forgiveness only when combined with Remorse, and (c) Remorse would be more critically to increasing Forgiveness than Empathy. Participants from Central Washington University were randomly assigned to one of four conditions (1-Remorse and Empathy, 2-Remorse and No Empathy, 3-No Remorse and Empathy, and 4-No Remorse and No Empathy) and prompted to complete a measure of forgiveness (TRIM) following the presentation of a hypothetical transgression scenario. Results of a 2x2x2 (Remorse, Empathy, gender) between-subjects analysis of variance indicated a main effect of Remorse, but no interaction effect between Remorse and Empathy on Forgiveness. There was no main effect of Empathy, Remorse, or interaction of gender, Remorse, and Empathy. Overall, the results suggest that while Empathy and gender appeared to have little to no effect on Forgiveness, Remorse was found to significantly increase Forgiveness following an interpersonal transgression.