Gender differences in the relationship between empathy and forgiveness

Loren Toussaint, Jon R. Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

250 Scopus citations


Much research has shown that women are more empathic than men. Yet, women and men are equally forgiving. However, it is not clear whether empathy is more important to forgiveness for men or for women. The purpose of the present study was to examine gender differences in levels of empathy and forgiveness and the extent to which the association of empathy and forgiveness differed by gender. Participants were 127 community residents who completed self-report measures of empathy and forgiveness. The present results showed that women were more empathic than men, but no gender difference for forgiveness was apparent. However, the association between empathy and forgiveness did differ by gender. Empathy was associated with forgiveness in men—but not in women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-685
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005


  • Coping strategies
  • Gender differences
  • Interpersonal understanding
  • Perspective taking
  • Prosocial behavior


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