The soothing effects of forgiveness on victims' and perpetrators' blood pressure

Peggy A. Hannon*, Eli J. Finkel, Madoka Kumashiro, Caryl E. Rusbult

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


A laboratory experiment tested whether conciliatory behavior predicts lower blood pressure following spouses' discussion of a recent marital transgression. Sixty-eight married couples discussed unresolved transgressions-with random assignment determining whether the husband or the wife was in the victim role-and then rated victim and perpetrator conciliatory behavior (with the former akin to forgiveness and the latter akin to amends) while watching a videotape of their just-completed discussion. Participants' blood pressure was measured 40 min later. Actor-partner interdependence modeling analyses revealed that victim conciliatory behavior during the discussion predicted not only lower victim blood pressure but also lower perpetrator blood pressure after the discussion. Perpetrator conciliatory behavior during the discussion was not associated with victim or perpetrator blood pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-289
Number of pages11
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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