Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Everett L. Worthington, Jr.


Notwithstanding progress made in description, prediction, and manipulation of self-forgiveness, the extant literature continues to be wrought with theoretical and empirical quandaries. In the current dissertation, I conceptualize self-forgiveness within the framework of Social Cognitive Theory and develop a two-factor scale to assess distinct decisional and emotional aspects of self-forgiveness among perpetrators of interpersonal transgressions. In Study One, I test the hypothesized two-factor structure in a new measure of state self-forgiveness and provide preliminary evidence supporting construct validity via associations of that measure with perceived responsibility, guilt, and shame. In Study Two, I replicate the factor structure and provide preliminary evidence of criterion-related validity by distinguishing self-forgiveness from self-punishment and self-exoneration using the two-factor structure. In Study Three, I explore profiles of association between the hypothesized decisional and emotional factors of self-forgiveness and pro-social as well as health-related correlates. In sum, findings generally supported the proposed two-factor structure of self-forgiveness, which provides a foundation for future investigations and applications of self-forgiveness.


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