by Amanda Ng (’17)
Many studies conducted in the field of social psychology have been dedicated to creating lasting relationships. Previous studies have shown that the presence of forgiveness in a relationship indicates successful conflict resolution and lower levels of stress. This leads to higher satisfaction in relationships, whether they continue or end.
In a recent study led by Dr. Tsukasa Kato of the Department of Social Psychology at Toyo University, 371 participants in committed romantic relationships were assessed on their levels of forgiveness, relationship satisfaction, and romantic love over a period of ten months. The participants’ level of forgiveness was obtained through a self-report measure called the “Forgiveness of Partner Scale,” which asked participants to rate items concerning forgiveness on a Likert scale. From these items, researchers measured the degree to which participants forgave negative offenses caused by their partner. Satisfaction was measured using the “Relationship Satisfaction Scale”, which also used a Likert scale to determine participants’ satisfaction with their current partner. Lastly, the “Romantic Loving Scale” measured the quality of the relationship using 13 self-reported items that showed the romantic love felt by the participant toward his partner. At the end of the ten months, the participants were asked about the status of their relationships.
At the conclusion of the study, 1/3 of the participants’ relationships had ended, many of which showed lower levels of forgiving tendencies when their partner was in the wrong. As predicted, those with higher levels of forgiveness, satisfaction, and romantic love had relationships that lasted longer with higher satisfaction, regardless of whether those relationships had ended or not.
Despite these findings, future research should still be pursued in order to find the effects of forgiveness on relationships, such as the effect of forgiveness in relationships with intimate partner violence.
- Kato, Effects of partner forgiveness on romantic break-ups in dating relationships: A longitudinal study. Personality and Individual Differences 95, 185-189 (2016). Doi: http://dx.doi./10.1016/j.paid.2016.02.050
- Image retrieved from: https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2016/02/19/10/03/romance-couple-1209046_960_720.jpg