, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 272–278 | Cite as

Roles of Anger and Rumination in the Relationship Between Self-Compassion and Forgiveness

  • Qinglu Wu
  • Peilian ChiEmail author
  • Xianglong Zeng
  • Xiuyun Lin
  • Hongfei Du


Self-compassion can improve mental health and enable individuals to develop aspects of prosocial motivation such as forgiveness. Self-compassion is associated with forgiveness; however, cognitive and emotional mechanisms underlying this association remain underexplored. Based on Worthington’s stress-and-coping theory of forgiveness, we examined the roles of rumination and anger—two typical psychological responses to interpersonal transgressions—in the relationship between self-compassion and forgiveness. By analyzing a sample of 358 Chinese college students (132 male students, mean age = 19.18 years), we determined that self-compassion and forgiveness were negatively associated with anger and rumination. Structural equation modeling results revealed that self-compassion was associated with forgiveness directly and indirectly through decreased anger and rumination. Furthermore, rumination was associated with forgiveness indirectly through anger. These findings indicate that anger is a proximal predictor of forgiveness. The results of the present study suggest that increasing self-compassion, reducing rumination, and alleviating anger are substantial and interventive processes for cultivating forgiveness.


Self-compassion Anger Rumination Forgiveness 


Author Contributions

Qinglu Wu designed and executed this study, analyzed the data, and composed the manuscript. PC collaborated with the design, collected the data, and revised the manuscript. Xianglong Zeng provided suggestions on the structure of the manuscript and revised the manuscript. Xiuyun Lin edited the manuscript and provided suggestions for revisions (especially in the Introduction and Discussion sections). Hongfei Du edited the manuscript and provided suggestions for revisions (primarily in the Method section).


The current study was supported by a research grant awarded to Dr. Peilian Chi from the Research Council at the University of Macau (MYRG2016-00236-FSS).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

The research procedure and data collection method were approved by the research ethics committee in the Department of Psychology at the University of Macau.

Informed Consent

All participants in the present study were provided with information regarding this project and signed a consent form prior to the study being conducted.

Conflict of Interest

The authors of this paper declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Work and Social Administration, Faculty of Social SciencesThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of MacauMacauChina
  3. 3.School of PsychologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  4. 4.Institute of Developmental Psychology, School of PsychologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyGuangzhou UniversityGuangzhouChina
  6. 6.Social and Health Psychology Research CenterGuangzhou UniversityGuangzhouChina

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