Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Publication Date



Undergraduate Honours Theses


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of incident recall (hurtful, kind) on forgiveness decisions in romantic relationships. Participants (N=73) were undergraduate students in a current relationship of at least one month in length, recruited through a mass email. In an online survey, participants were asked to think of a time within the past month that their partner was either kind or hurtful towards them. Next, they imagined twelve hypothetical transgressions committed by their partner.. For each transgression, participants indicated the extent to which they would engage in exit, voice, loyalty, and neglect responses. Results showed that in both incident recall conditions, participants reported significantly greater voice than exit responses. In the kind condition, participants reported significantly more loyalty than neglect responses. However, this effect was not observed in the hurt condition. Therefore, when people recall a kind event, they tend to respond with both active and passive constructive responses to a hypothetical transgression. Implications and future directions for research are discussed.

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