Interpersonal Forgiveness and Adolescent Depression. The Mediational Role of Self-reassurance and Self-criticism

Barbara Barcaccia, Marco Salvati, Susanna Pallini, Roberto Baiocco, Giuseppe Curcio, Francesco Mancini, Giovanni Maria Vecchio (2019): Interpersonal Forgiveness and Adolescent Depression. The Mediational Role of Self-reassurance and Self-criticism. In: Journal of Child and Family Studies, 2019, ISSN: 1573-2843.


Literature indicates that positive feelings towards oneself and others are important assets for well-being. In this study we intended to test the mediational role of self-reassurance, self-hate and self-inadequateness on the relationships between depression and interpersonal forgiveness, avoidance and revenge, respectively.

Participants were 2105 adolescents (N= 979 boys; 1126 girls) ranging from 13 to 20 years. Participants completed self-report questionnaires measuring their perceived depressive symptoms (Children’s Depression Inventory), perceived state forgiveness (Transgression-Related Interpersonal Motivations Inventory-18) and perceived Self-Criticism and Self-Reassurance.

The results showed that the feelings towards oneself mediated the associations of feelings and motivations towards others with depression. Specifically, the more participants were benevolent and forgiving, the more they were self-reassured and, as a consequence, the less they reported depressive symptomatology. On the contrary, the more they were avoidant or vengeful, the more they criticised and attacked themselves, and, as a consequence, the more they reported depressive symptomatology.

Overall, our findings highlight the importance of promoting a self-reassuring attitude towards oneself, both to reduce the negative effects of avoidance and revenge on depression, and to increase the beneficial effects of interpersonal forgiveness. Self-criticism only exacerbates the suffering, whereas a warm and reassuring attitude both towards others and oneself reduces depressive symptomatology.