Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Psychology of Religion and Spirituality





First Page


Last Page


DOI of Original Publication



Author's post-print. Originally published at

Date of Submission

January 2015


Religious communities, like other communities, are ripe for interpersonal offenses. We examined the degree to which group identification predicted forgiveness of an in-group offender. We examined the effects of a victim’s perception of his or her religious group identification as a state-specific personal variable on forgiveness by integrating Social Identity Theory into a model of Relational Spirituality (Davis, Hook, & Worthington, 2008) to help explain victim’s responses to transgressions within a religious context. Data were collected from members of Christian congregations from the mid-west region of the United States (Study 1, N = 63), and college students belonging to Christian congregations (Study 2, N = 376). Regression analyses demonstrated that even after statistically controlling for many religious and transgression-related variables, group identification with a congregation still predicted variance in revenge and benevolence toward an in-group offender after a transgression. Additionally, mediation analyses suggest group identification as one mechanism through which trait forgivingness relates to forgiveness of specific offenses. We discuss the importance of group identity in forgiving other in-group members in a religious community.


© 2014 American Psychological Association. This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 2014, vol. 6 no. 2, 150-161. The final publication is available at This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.

Is Part Of

VCU Psychology Publications