Forgiveness, reconciliation, and shame: Three key variables in reducing school bullying

Eliza Ahmed, Valerie Braithwaite*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    103 Citations (Scopus)


    This study examined the relationships between forgiveness, reconciliation, shame and school bullying. The sample consisted of 1,875 Bangladeshi adolescents (60% girls) in grades 7 to 10 (M = 8.28). In a structural equation model, both forgiveness and reconciliation directly predicted less bullying. In addition to the direct effect, an indirect pathway showed reconciliation reduced bullying via adaptive shame management. Shame acknowledgment predicted less bullying whereas shame displacement predicted more in accord with the shame management theory. An alternative model was also tested, which demonstrated that parental forgiveness eroded when children displaced their shame. The nature of the intersection between these two theoretically viable psychological models has implications for both restorative justice theory and practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)347-370
    Number of pages24
    JournalJournal of Social Issues
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


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