In our daily lives, we exist side by side with others. Offenses are inevitable. What may be much less common in our relationships with others, however, may be the attempt to repair the damage done by the offense through the process of seeking forgiveness. Why do some people apparently seek forgiveness readily while others do not? What provides the motivation to seek forgiveness or the likelihood of doing so? Vroom’s (1964) theory of motivation provided a useful model for exploring these questions. Two hypotheses based on that theory provided the framework for the study. The first hypothesis proposed that expectancy (or self-efficacy in seeking forgiveness), instrumentality, and valence predict motivation to seek forgiveness, and the second stated that the same three factors of expectancy, instrumentality, and valence would also predict the likelihood of seeking forgiveness. Results support the first hypothesis and suggest that expectancy, instrumentality, and valence do predict motivation. The second hypothesis is not supported however, as the factor of instrumentality does not predict the likelihood of seeking forgiveness. Instead, expectancy, valence, and the severity of the offense predict the likelihood of seeking forgiveness. This study also offered participants the opportunity to describe why they would, or would not, seek forgiveness. These comments suggest some intriguing insights into other factors that may also affect motivation and likelihood of seeking forgiveness.

Document Type


Student Type


Department, Program, or Center

Psychology (CLA)


RIT – Main Campus

Publication Date



Twenty-Ninth Kearse Distinguished Lecture Award Recipient (2009)

Award in Psychology

Faculty sponsor: Nicholas DiFonzo

College: Liberal Arts.

Program: Psychology.

Course: Senior Project.

Professor: Nicholas DiFonzo

The Kearse awards recognize students who have written the most outstanding research papers or projects in areas of study in the College of Liberal Arts. There is one faculty-nominated awardee from each COLA department. Henry J. and Mary Geirin Kearse, lifelong advocates of education, endowed the award.

Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.