Forgiveness of in-group offenders in Christian congregations

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

7 Scopus Citations
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  • Chelsea L. Greer
  • Everett L. Worthington Jr.
  • Daryl R. Van Tongeren
  • Aubrey L. Gartner
  • David J. Jennings II
  • Yin Lin
  • Caroline Lavelock
  • Todd W. Greer


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-161
Journal / PublicationPsychology of Religion and Spirituality
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


Religious communities, as 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 victima'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 victima's responses to transgressions within a religious context. Data were collected from members of Christian congregations from the Midwest 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. In addition, 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.

Research Area(s)

  • forgiveness, in-group offender, religion, social identity, spirituality

Citation Format(s)

Forgiveness of in-group offenders in Christian congregations. / Greer, Chelsea L.; Worthington Jr., Everett L.; Van Tongeren, Daryl R.; Gartner, Aubrey L.; Jennings II, David J.; Lin, Yin; Lavelock, Caroline; Greer, Todd W.; Ho, Man Yee.

In: Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, Vol. 6, No. 2, 05.2014, p. 150-161.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review