Too proud to let go: Narcissistic entitlement as a barrier to forgiveness

Julie Juola Exline*, Brad J. Bushman, Roy F. Baumeister, W. Keith Campbell, Eli J. Finkel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

288 Scopus citations

Abstract

Narcissistic entitlement impedes forgiveness in ways not captured by other robust predictors (e.g., offense severity, apology, relationship closeness, religiosity, Big Five personality factors), as demonstrated in 6 studies. Narcissistic entitlement involves expectations of special treatment and preoccupation with defending one's rights. In Study 1, entitlement predicted less forgiveness and greater insistence on repayment for a past offense. Complementary results emerged from Study 2, which used hypothetical transgressions, and Study 3, which assessed broad forgiveness dispositions. Study 4 examined associations with the Big Five, and Study 5 extended the findings to a laboratory context. Study 6 demonstrated that entitlement predicted diminished increases in forgiveness over time. Taken together, these results suggest that narcissistic entitlement is a robust, distinct predictor of unforgiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)894-912
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume87
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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