Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Everett Worthington


Although the scientific study of forgiveness has flourished in recent years, little is known about transgressors when seeking forgiveness, particularly regarding how they respond when their request for forgiveness is denied. The present thesis reviews the literature related to how transgressors might react to a denied request for forgiveness and factors that likely influence their response. In two studies, interactions between sex and responses to requested forgiveness, and interactions between two personality variables (agreeableness and neuroticism) and responses to requested forgiveness were examined. Generally, when people refuse or even partially refuse a bid for forgiveness, it is considered by the requestor to be a wrong perpetrated by the original victim. Even after considering the hurtfulness and severity of that wrong, there were differences in the degree to which original offenders held unforgiveness, experienced positive emotions, and forgave the original victim, depending on how starkly the original victim denied the request.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2010

Included in

Psychology Commons