The research considers three predictors of the intensity of life regrets: (a) whether the regretted behaviour is an action or a failure to act, (b) the severity of its consequences and (c) the extent to which the behaviour was justified. It is hypothesised that the intensity of recent and distant regrets will be predicted by different combinations of these predictors. Regression analyses on regrets reported by 957 French adults support this hypothesis. The intensity of recent regrets is predicted by the consequences of the behaviour, and especially so for actions. The intensity of distant regrets is predicted by the consequences of the behaviour and by its justification, the effect of justification being stronger for actions than for inactions. These results are discussed in relation to both laboratory and field studies of regret. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.