Date of Thesis



The current study seeks to investigate the ways in which forgiveness and accountability influence the likelihood that a female perpetrator of relational aggression will continue this behavior, and/or reconcile with her victim. It is hypothesized that when a perpetrator of relational aggression is held accountable for her actions, and is also forgiven by her victim, she will experience the greatest level of guilt, will perpetrate the least number of similar instances in the future, and will be most inclined to seek reconciliation with her victim. Ninety female students attending Bucknell University (57 in the fall, 33 in the spring) were asked to complete an online survey to participate in this study. This survey utilized a recall procedure, asking participants to recall an instance in which they perpetrated relational aggression and to describe the incident in detail. Degrees of forgiveness and accountability were assessed, in addition to the participant's degree of self-blame, guilt, and future usage of relational aggression. Results of moderating analyses found no main effect between forgiveness on relational aggression (ß = -.15, p = .24) or victim accountability on relational aggression (ß = -.16, p = .27), and no interaction effect of forgiveness and victim accountability on relational aggression (ß = .21, p = .25). No significant interaction effect was found for forgiveness and victim accountability on reconciliation (ß = -.12, p = .33), but significant main effects were found for forgiveness on reconciliation (ß = .52, p = .00) and victim accountability on reconciliation (ß = .39, p = .05). Using personal responsibility ¿ assessed separately by self-blame and guilt ¿ as a mediating variable, no meditational relationship was found between forgiveness and reconciliation or victim accountability and reconciliation.

Access Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Kimberly Daubman