The role of forgiveness in shifting from "Me" to "We"

  • Karremans J
  • Van Lange P
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Abstract

The present research was designed to examine the link between forgiveness and cognitive interdependence, the mental state characterized by pluralistic representations of the self-in-relationship (Agnew, Van Lange, Rusbult, & Langston, 1998). Consistent with hypotheses, results revealed that forgiveness was associated with greater perceived overlap between self and partner in a graphical measure of Inclusion of the Other in the Self scale (IOS; Aron, Aron, Tudor, & Nelson, 1991, Study 1), and greater use of first-person plural pronouns (i.e., we, us, our, and ours) in open-ended descriptions of their relationships (Study 2). Forgiveness accounted for cognitive interdependence, while controlling for several variables, including relational commitment and mood. Implications of the present results for relationship functioning and well-being are discussed.

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