Let's talk about this: Co-rumination and dyadic dynamics of moral repair following wrongdoing

Michael Wenzel, Cara Rossi, Michael Thai, Lydia Woodyatt, Tyler G. Okimoto, Everett L. Worthington

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Interpersonal transgressions threaten victims, offenders, and their relationships, often leading the parties to ruminate about the wrongdoing, not only individually but also together, in acts of co-rumination. We investigate how two forms of co-rumination—co-reflection and co-brooding—influence, or are influenced by, individual rumination and victim forgiveness or offender self-forgiveness. Our study used a prospective-longitudinal-dyadic design (N = 110 dyads), where relationship couples were recruited prior to an incident and, once a partner reported feeling wronged by the other, completed repeated surveys over four time-points 24–48 h apart. Cross-lagged panel models indicated that co-rumination was related to increased subsequent individual rumination; forgiveness and self-forgiveness were related to reduced subsequent co-rumination; and self-punitiveness showed positive feedback cycles with co-brooding and offender rumination, whereas genuine self-forgiveness seemed to draw on co-reflection via individual rumination and, in turn, reduced co-reflection. Co-rumination plays an important, yet complex, role within processes of moral repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-644
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date27 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • co-rumination
  • forgiveness
  • moral repair
  • rumination
  • self-forgiveness


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