Apology as Aggression Control: Its Role in Mediating Appraisal of and Response to Harm

Ken ichi Ohbuchi, Masuyo Kameda, Nariyuki Agarie

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    435 Citations (Scopus)


    Two studies examined the effects of an apology on a victim's aggression and explored the psychological mechanisms underlying such effects. In Study 1, female undergraduates were psychologically harmed and then received an apology by another female student. In Study 2, male undergraduates were asked to role play a victim in a hypothetical harm situation. Results indicate that when the harm-doers apologized, as opposed to when they did not, the victim-subjects refrained from severe aggression against them. Regression analyses suggested that such aggression-inhibitory effects of an apology were mediated by impression improvement, emotional mitigation, and reduction in desire for an apology within the victims. It was also found that when the harm was severe, such effects of an apology on aggression were attenuated. The more severe the harm is, the more extensive of an apology may be needed to alleviate the victim's anger and aggression.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)219-227
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1989 Feb

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology
    • Sociology and Political Science


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