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Rumination, Revenge, and Forgiveness: Associations with Aggression and Life Satisfaction

  • Author(s): Contreras, Isaias Marcos
  • Advisor(s): Novaco, Raymond W
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Anger is a strong driver of aggressive behavior. Rumination about anger experiences disrupts recovery to a less angry state and increases the likelihood of aggression. Whether rumination contributes to aggressive behavior beyond its influence on angry affect is unclear. Various measures of anger rumination contain revenge planning as a theme, the relevance of which has received insufficient attention in accounting for aggressive behavior. This study separately analyzed revenge planning from anger rumination that did not contain elements of revenge. Anger rumination (without revenge) was not significantly associated with self-reported physical or verbal aggression, while revenge planning was positively associated, controlling for gender and anger disposition. In contrast, anger rumination, but not revenge planning, was inversely related to life satisfaction, controlling for subjective social status, anxiety, depression, and anger disposition. The disposition to forgive oneself and others are also examined as explanatory variables inversely related to rumination and vengeance seeking. The relevance of these findings for violence risk assessment, anger treatment, and future research on anger rumination are discussed.

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