Forgiveness and its determinants depending on the interpersonal context of hurt

Document Type

Journal Article


Academic Press


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Exercise and Health Sciences/Child Health Promotion Research Centre




This article was originally published as: Peets, K., Hodges, E., & Salmivalli, C. (2013). Forgiveness and its determinants depending on the interpersonal context of hurt. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 114(1), 131-145. Original article available here


Children and adolescents encounter different hurtful experiences in school settings. How these events are processed (e.g., whether they think that the transgressor was hostile) is likely to depend on the relationship with the transgressor. In this study, we examined how adolescents (58 girls and 35 boys, mean age = 14.03. years, SD= 0.60) dealt with the hurt caused by someone they liked or disliked. Our findings show that the hurt caused by a disliked transgressor is likely to lead to more negative cognitive (e.g., hostile attributions), affective (e.g., feelings of anger), and motivational (e.g., avoidance/revenge) outcomes than the hurt caused by a liked peer. In addition, we found that associations between cognitive processes and avoidance/revenge were mediated by feelings of anger, but only when the transgression occurred in the context of disliking. These results highlight the importance of studying how adolescents process hurtful experiences in different relational contexts.