Parasocial forgiveness: The roles of parasocial closeness and offense perceptions
Recent research suggests that robust predictors of interpersonal forgiveness, such as relationship closeness and offense severity, also predict forgiveness of a parasocial target. We extend this work using an interpersonal forgiveness measure to examine forgiveness of parasocial targets as a function of parasocial closeness and offense perceptions. Across two studies, we found that pre-offense closeness was associated with greater forgiveness and current closeness, and that forgiveness significantly mediated the relationship between pre-offense and current closeness. In Study 2, we additionally found that perceptions of apology sincerity were associated with greater forgiveness and current parasocial closeness. Finally, we found that a brief measure of parasocial closeness was comparable to the Parasocial Interaction Scale in its associations with forgiveness and related outcomes. Implications regarding similarities and differences in interpersonal and parasocial forgiveness are discussed. Additionally, possible benefits of using of a brief, face-valid, and versatile set of items to assess parasocial closeness are suggested.