On the relationship between justice and forgiveness: Are all forms of justice made equal?
Article first published online: 24 JUN 2013
© 2013 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 53, Issue 3, pages 463–483, September 2014
How to Cite
Wenzel, M. and Okimoto, T. G. (2014), On the relationship between justice and forgiveness: Are all forms of justice made equal?. British Journal of Social Psychology, 53: 463–483. doi: 10.1111/bjso.12040
- Issue published online: 11 SEP 2014
- Article first published online: 24 JUN 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 3 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 2 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Received: 12 JUN 2012
- Australian Research Council. Grant Number: DP0877309
This research investigates whether, following a wrongdoing, the restoration of justice promotes forgiveness. Three studies – one correlational recall study and two experimental scenario studies – provide evidence that while a restored sense of justice is overall positively related to forgiveness, forgiveness is highly dependent on the means of justice restoration being retributive (punitive) versus restorative (consensus-seeking) in nature. The findings showed that, overall, restorative but not retributive responses led to greater forgiveness. Although both retributive and restorative responses appeared to increase forgiveness indirectly through increased feelings of justice, for retributive responses these effects were counteracted by direct effects on forgiveness. Moreover, the experimental evidence showed that, while feelings of justice derived from restorative responses were positively related to forgiveness, feelings of justice derived from retributive responses were not.