The decision to forgive: Sex, gender, and the likelihood to forgive partner transgressions

Robert J. Sidelinger, Brandi N. Frisby, Audra L. McMullen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Certain individuals may have a tendency to offer others forgiveness that is termed forgivingness. This study explored individuals' gender styles, sex, and their likelihood to forgive partner transgressions in romantic relationships. Results indicated feminine women and androgynous men were most likely to forgive partner transgressions. Thus, the interpersonal act of forgiving requires empathy, caring, understanding, and responsiveness as evidenced by self-report items on the Bem Sex Role Inventory. Also, men proved to be more forgiving than women of partner transgressions; however, men also reported experiencing less hurt than women when confronted with partner transgressions. This outcome may indicate that forgiveness is a complex process in which individuals consider many factors before they forgive others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-179
Number of pages16
JournalCommunication Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Forgiveness
  • Forgivingness
  • Gender
  • Interdependence Theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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