Interpersonal Forgiveness and Adolescent Depression. The Mediational Role of Self-reassurance and Self-criticism

  • Barbara BarcacciaEmail author
  • Marco Salvati
  • Susanna Pallini
  • Roberto Baiocco
  • Giuseppe Curcio
  • Francesco Mancini
  • Giovanni Maria Vecchio
Original Paper



Literature indicates that positive feelings towards oneself and others are important assets for well-being. In this study we intended to test the mediational role of self-reassurance, self-hate and self-inadequateness on the relationships between depression and interpersonal forgiveness, avoidance and revenge, respectively.


Participants were 2105 adolescents (N= 979 boys; 1126 girls) ranging from 13 to 20 years. Participants completed self-report questionnaires measuring their perceived depressive symptoms (Children’s Depression Inventory), perceived state forgiveness (Transgression-Related Interpersonal Motivations Inventory-18) and perceived Self-Criticism and Self-Reassurance.


The results showed that the feelings towards oneself mediated the associations of feelings and motivations towards others with depression. Specifically, the more participants were benevolent and forgiving, the more they were self-reassured and, as a consequence, the less they reported depressive symptomatology. On the contrary, the more they were avoidant or vengeful, the more they criticised and attacked themselves, and, as a consequence, the more they reported depressive symptomatology.


Overall, our findings highlight the importance of promoting a self-reassuring attitude towards oneself, both to reduce the negative effects of avoidance and revenge on depression, and to increase the beneficial effects of interpersonal forgiveness. Self-criticism only exacerbates the suffering, whereas a warm and reassuring attitude both towards others and oneself reduces depressive symptomatology.


Self-ressurance Self-hate Self-inadequateness Compassion Forgiveness Adolescent depression 


Author Contributions

B.B.: designed and executed the study, and wrote the paper. M.S.: performed the data analyses. S.P.: designed the study and collaborated in the writing and editing of the final manuscript. R.B. assisted with the data analyses. G.C. wrote part of the results. F.M. collaborated in editing of the final manuscript. G.M.V. designed the study and assisted with the data analyses.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationRoma Tre UniversityRomeItaly
  2. 2.Associazione di Psicologia Cognitiva APC and Scuola di Psicoterapia Cognitiva srl SPCRomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of Developmental and Social PsychologySapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  4. 4.Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical SciencesUniversity of L’AquilaL’AquilaItaly
  5. 5.Guglielmo Marconi UniversityRomeItaly

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