Conceptualising Forgiveness in Intimate Relationships: Towards an Integrative Theoretical Model

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


For centuries forgiveness has been associated with religion as a recommended avenue for improving relationship with God and with others. Recently, it has become increasingly used as a concept within psychology studied theoretically and empirically and used in therapy. The aim of this chapter is to present a critical review of definitions, process and dynamics of forgiveness, existing forgiveness models and suggest an integrative theoretical model. Themes discussed will include: commonalities and differences among definitions of forgiveness; laypersons’ and researchers’ perspectives; the process of forgiveness in intimate relationships; distinctions between the intra and the interpersonal; victim and perpetrator interchangeability; cross cultural and religious differences; motivations to forgive; moral cognitive developmental forgiveness; and forgiveness and personality traits. The uniqueness of the suggested model is the interactive component between the roles of victim and transgressor. The present model is based on the assumption that the roles of victim and transgressor should not be dichotomised, that there is some of both in each, and one can therefore forgive and/or be forgiven. Implications for the dyad are suggested in light of the mutuality of the violation-forgiveness process. This differential perception of the participants needs to be accounted for as it has implications for the processes described in the model.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWebbing Vicissitudes of Forgiveness
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781848882775
ISBN (Print)9789004374188
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Inter-Disciplinary Press 2014.


  • Forgiveness
  • culture
  • forgiveness models
  • intimate relationships
  • religion
  • victim-offender interchangeability
  • violation of trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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