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Relations Among Apology, Forgiveness, and Communicative Responses to Hurtful Messages
Unformatted Document Text:  Forgiveness and Communication 26 H2, loyalty was negatively rather than positively associated with apology. This negative association was nonsignificant in the bivariate analysis, but significant in the regression analysis. When considered alongside integrative communication and distributive communication, the present study’s data suggest that the errant partner is less likely to use apologies when the hurt person is loyal. Again, the causal direction of this relationship is unclear. Perhaps errant partners do not feel a need to apologize when their partners remain loyal to them even after being hurt. In some ways, loyalty tactics may act as a “green light” to forget the incident or move on without talking about the event. On the other hand, an apology may begin more direct dialogue between the partners, making a passive strategy such as loyalty less relevant. It is also noteworthy that the negative association between loyalty and apology strengthened and became significant when considered alongside integrative communication and distributive communication in the regression equation. Integrative communication is direct and constructive, distributive communication is direct and destructive, and loyalty is indirect and constructive (Guerrero et al., 1995; Rusbult, 1983, 1987). Thus, when the intercorrelations between these three variables are taken into account, the part of loyalty that represents an indirect strategy may be what is left. If this is the case, it is not surprising that apology and loyalty would have a small negative association. Loyalty also showed a small but significant positive association with forgiveness. This finding supports McCullough et al.’s (1997, 1998) model in that loyalty is a conciliatory response that should be more likely once forgiveness has been secured. For individuals who would rather not talk about the unpleasant events that led to hurt feelings, loyalty may represent a passive acceptance of the situation. Individuals who adopt a loyalty strategy may also be more likely to forgive their partners in the first place. The effectiveness of the loyalty strategy, however, is debatable. Despite the loyal person’s optimism, loyalty is an indirect strategy that

Authors: Bachman, Guy. and Guerrero, Laura.
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Forgiveness and Communication 26
H2, loyalty was negatively rather than positively associated with apology. This negative
association was nonsignificant in the bivariate analysis, but significant in the regression analysis.
When considered alongside integrative communication and distributive communication, the
present study’s data suggest that the errant partner is less likely to use apologies when the hurt
person is loyal. Again, the causal direction of this relationship is unclear. Perhaps errant partners
do not feel a need to apologize when their partners remain loyal to them even after being hurt. In
some ways, loyalty tactics may act as a “green light” to forget the incident or move on without
talking about the event. On the other hand, an apology may begin more direct dialogue between
the partners, making a passive strategy such as loyalty less relevant.
It is also noteworthy that the negative association between loyalty and apology
strengthened and became significant when considered alongside integrative communication and
distributive communication in the regression equation. Integrative communication is direct and
constructive, distributive communication is direct and destructive, and loyalty is indirect and
constructive (Guerrero et al., 1995; Rusbult, 1983, 1987). Thus, when the intercorrelations
between these three variables are taken into account, the part of loyalty that represents an indirect
strategy may be what is left. If this is the case, it is not surprising that apology and loyalty would
have a small negative association.
Loyalty also showed a small but significant positive association with forgiveness. This
finding supports McCullough et al.’s (1997, 1998) model in that loyalty is a conciliatory
response that should be more likely once forgiveness has been secured. For individuals who
would rather not talk about the unpleasant events that led to hurt feelings, loyalty may represent
a passive acceptance of the situation. Individuals who adopt a loyalty strategy may also be more
likely to forgive their partners in the first place. The effectiveness of the loyalty strategy,
however, is debatable. Despite the loyal person’s optimism, loyalty is an indirect strategy that


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