Shared Value Affirmation Following a Transgression: Offenders’ Need Satisfaction, Genuine Self-Forgiveness and Willingness to Reconcile

King, L. (Flinders University), Wenzel, M. (Flinders University)

In the aftermath of an interpersonal transgression, offenders may experience threats to their moral integrity and social acceptance, which may impede reconciliation if not addressed. Research has shown that one means of addressing these moral/social identity needs is the re-affirmation of values violated by the offence. Prior research has focused upon individual affirmation tasks; through such a private process, we argue, offenders may primarily restore their moral integrity. However, when both parties engage in a shared value affirmation, offenders may perceive greater social acceptance because they know victims witnessed the value consensus. The present study (N = 91) investigated the effects of shared value affirmation, compared to independent value affirmation and no-affirmation control conditions. Unexpectedly, both shared and independent value affirmation operated via the same mechanisms to affect offender needs, albeit the effects were more pronounced for shared affirmation. Mediation analyses showed that value affirmation increased a personal sense of value consensus, which was positively related to moral integrity; and it increased the metaperception that the victim perceived value consensus, which was positively related to social acceptance. A second study, currently underway, aims to consider the downstream effects of shared value affirmation on offenders’ genuine self-forgiveness and willingness to reconcile.

Event Timeslots (1)

Conflict and Morality