Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 209–220 | Cite as

Forgiveness in adolescents, young, middle-aged, and older adults

  • Michèle Girard
  • Etienne Mullet


The evolution of the propensity to forgive an offense was studied in a sample of 236 people from various age groups. The effect of a number of circumstances connected with the offense was considered: intent to harm, severity of consequences, cancellation of consequences, social proximity to the offender, apologies from the offender, and the attitude of others. The method was an application of information integration theory. A global increase in the propensity to forgive from adolescence to old age was observed. Several interactions between age and circumstances were found: (a) The effect of the cancellation factor was higher in young adolescents and in the very old than in the middle-aged, (b) the attitude of others and the restoration of harmony factors were important only in adolescents. Finally, the structure of the Forgiveness schema was shown to be an additive one, regardless of the age of the participants.

Key words

Forgiveness aging information integration 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michèle Girard
    • 1
  • Etienne Mullet
    • 2
  1. 1.Université de LimogesLimogesFrance
  2. 2.Ecole Pratique des Hautes EtudesFrance

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