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Relations Among Apology, Forgiveness, and Communicative Responses to Hurtful Messages
Unformatted Document Text:  Forgiveness and Communication 8 communication was measured by summing responses to three items assessing prosocial behavior (e.g., suggesting possible solutions and compromising) and then subtracting the sum of four items assessing antisocial behavior (e.g, blaming, accusing, or criticizing the partner). However, communication research suggests that people have multiple communicative options when trying to repair relationships, get revenge against partners, or distance themselves from partners. Thus, this investigation focuses on replicating and expanding McCullough’s model (McCullough et al., 1997, 1998) by identifying specific types of communicative behavior that are related to forgiveness. To do this, a broad array of communicative responses related to hurtful events were initially considered. These responses were derived from work in the areas of hurtful messages (Vangelisti & Crumley, 1998), relationship repair (Emmers & Canary, 1996), responses to relational dissatisfaction (Rusbult, 1983), and responses to jealousy (Guerrero, Andersen, Spitzberg, Jorgensen, & Eloy, 1996). Responses to hurtful messages. Recipients of hurtful messages tend to react in three general ways—through active verbal responses, acquiescence, or invulnerable types of responses (Vangelisti & Crumley, 1998). Active verbal and invulnerable reactions reflect tendencies for people “to approach what they see as a basis for their emotions, whereas acquiescence shows an impulse to avoid or move away from” negative emotion (Vangelisti & Crumley, 1998, p. 181). Active verbal responses involve using sarcasm, verbally attacking the partner, defending the self, and asking for an explanation. Invulnerable responses involve ignoring the hurtful message, laughing it off, or being silent. Finally, acquiescence encompasses behaviors such as conceding, apologizing, or crying. Relationship repair strategies. Using an uncertainty reduction theory framework, Emmers and Canary (1996) investigated communicative repair strategies that people engage in after experiencing hurtful relationship events. They found four general categories of repair

Authors: Bachman, Guy. and Guerrero, Laura.
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Forgiveness and Communication 8
communication was measured by summing responses to three items assessing prosocial behavior
(e.g., suggesting possible solutions and compromising) and then subtracting the sum of four
items assessing antisocial behavior (e.g, blaming, accusing, or criticizing the partner). However,
communication research suggests that people have multiple communicative options when trying
to repair relationships, get revenge against partners, or distance themselves from partners. Thus,
this investigation focuses on replicating and expanding McCullough’s model (McCullough et al.,
1997, 1998) by identifying specific types of communicative behavior that are related to
forgiveness. To do this, a broad array of communicative responses related to hurtful events were
initially considered. These responses were derived from work in the areas of hurtful messages
(Vangelisti & Crumley, 1998), relationship repair (Emmers & Canary, 1996), responses to
relational dissatisfaction (Rusbult, 1983), and responses to jealousy (Guerrero, Andersen,
Spitzberg, Jorgensen, & Eloy, 1996).
Responses to hurtful messages. Recipients of hurtful messages tend to react in three
general ways—through active verbal responses, acquiescence, or invulnerable types of responses
(Vangelisti & Crumley, 1998). Active verbal and invulnerable reactions reflect tendencies for
people “to approach what they see as a basis for their emotions, whereas acquiescence shows an
impulse to avoid or move away from” negative emotion (Vangelisti & Crumley, 1998, p. 181).
Active verbal responses involve using sarcasm, verbally attacking the partner, defending the self,
and asking for an explanation. Invulnerable responses involve ignoring the hurtful message,
laughing it off, or being silent. Finally, acquiescence encompasses behaviors such as conceding,
apologizing, or crying.
Relationship repair strategies. Using an uncertainty reduction theory framework,
Emmers and Canary (1996) investigated communicative repair strategies that people engage in
after experiencing hurtful relationship events. They found four general categories of repair


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