Forgiveness in the Modulation of Responsibility in a Sample of Italian Adolescents with a Tendency towards Conduct or Obsessive–Compulsive Problems

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Carlo Buonanno, Enrico Iuliano, Giuseppe Grossi, Francesco Mancini, Emiliana Stendardo, Fabrizia Tudisco, Barbara Pizzini (2021): Forgiveness in the Modulation of Responsibility in a Sample of Italian Adolescents with a Tendency towards Conduct or Obsessive–Compulsive Problems . In: Brain Sciences, 11 (10), 2021.

Abstract

Although obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and the conduct disorders (CD) express a contrasting symptomatology, they could represent different answers to a common matrix about morality. In the literature, some theoretical models describe people with OCD as individuals who
experience high levels of responsibility and guilt. On the other hand, adolescents with a CD are described as if they do not feel guilty at all or consider anti-social purposes as more important than existing moral purposes. The aims of this study were to investigate the role of forgiveness in responsibility and guilt levels and to test whether this putative relation was influenced by tendencies towards obsessive–compulsive problems (OCP) or conduct problems (CP). In total, 231 adolescents aged between 16 and 18 years were self-assessed using a Youth Self-Report, Child Responsibility Attitudes Questionnaire, Heartland Forgiveness Scale, and Test Of Self-Conscious Affect. The results show that self forgiveness predicted responsibility levels, while guilt was predicted by self- forgiveness and situation-forgiveness. Moreover, mediation analyses revealed that the effects of OCP on responsibility and guilt were mediated by self-forgiveness and situation-forgiveness. Regarding CP, no mediated effects were found. In conclusion, lower proneness to forgive increases responsibility and guilt, and this is particularly evident in subjects with higher levels of OCP.

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