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Relations Among Apology, Forgiveness, and Communicative Responses to Hurtful Messages
Unformatted Document Text:  Forgiveness and Communication 24 relational issues in an open and nonthreatening manner to increase understanding and solve problems. As such, this type of communication should accompany forgiveness, with the hurt individual being more motivated to work out problems. Importantly, integrative communication may also lead to forgiveness. Indeed, the cross-sectional nature of the data presented in this paper makes it impossible to determine whether forgiveness leads to integrative communication, or whether integrative communication leads to forgiveness. We expect that this relationship runs in both directions. Because integrative communication allows partners to express and explain themselves, this type of communication can provide a forum for apologies and forgiveness. Once forgiveness is granted, the hurt person may then be more motivated to discuss relational issues using integrative communication. In line with this reasoning, regression analyses in the present study suggest that although integrative communication shares a direct association with apology, this association is partially mediated by forgiveness. Distributive Communication Distributive communication associated negatively with forgiveness, as predicted based on McCullough’s model of interpersonal forgiveness. This finding supports McCullough et al’s (1997, 1998) argument that people are less likely to be verbally aggressive after forgiving the errant partner, as well as Fincham and Beach’s (2002) argument that forgiveness may help stop negative cycles of verbally aggressive behavior. This finding also supports the idea that verbal aggression may contribute to a negative atmosphere that makes forgiveness less likely. Thus, in future studies it would be useful for researchers to examine the causal nature of the association between distributive communication and forgiveness. At this point, however, it does appear that distributive communication is related to forgiveness in a different way than it is related to apology. Moreover, contrary to the interpersonal forgiveness model, forgiveness did not mediate the relationship between apology and distributive communication. In fact, according to the

Authors: Bachman, Guy. and Guerrero, Laura.
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Forgiveness and Communication 24
relational issues in an open and nonthreatening manner to increase understanding and solve
problems. As such, this type of communication should accompany forgiveness, with the hurt
individual being more motivated to work out problems. Importantly, integrative communication
may also lead to forgiveness. Indeed, the cross-sectional nature of the data presented in this
paper makes it impossible to determine whether forgiveness leads to integrative communication,
or whether integrative communication leads to forgiveness. We expect that this relationship runs
in both directions. Because integrative communication allows partners to express and explain
themselves, this type of communication can provide a forum for apologies and forgiveness. Once
forgiveness is granted, the hurt person may then be more motivated to discuss relational issues
using integrative communication. In line with this reasoning, regression analyses in the present
study suggest that although integrative communication shares a direct association with apology,
this association is partially mediated by forgiveness.
Distributive Communication
Distributive communication associated negatively with forgiveness, as predicted based on
McCullough’s model of interpersonal forgiveness. This finding supports McCullough et al’s
(1997, 1998) argument that people are less likely to be verbally aggressive after forgiving the
errant partner, as well as Fincham and Beach’s (2002) argument that forgiveness may help stop
negative cycles of verbally aggressive behavior. This finding also supports the idea that verbal
aggression may contribute to a negative atmosphere that makes forgiveness less likely. Thus, in
future studies it would be useful for researchers to examine the causal nature of the association
between distributive communication and forgiveness. At this point, however, it does appear that
distributive communication is related to forgiveness in a different way than it is related to
apology. Moreover, contrary to the interpersonal forgiveness model, forgiveness did not mediate
the relationship between apology and distributive communication. In fact, according to the


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