Role of Shared Identity (Kapwa) in Forgiving Others: A Collectivistic Approach in Understanding Forgiveness


  • Darwin C. Rungduin Colegio de San Juan de Letran
  • Teresita T. Rungduin Philippine Normal University
  • John Ray B. Acopio Mapua University


Forgiveness, collectivist, culture, KAPWA [shared identity]


In an attempt to indigenize psychology in the Philippines, shared identity has been used to explain concepts related to Filipino social behaviors. Since shared identity is an overarching concept that exudes Filipino behaviors in the social context, it is assumed that shared identity can further describe how and why Filipinos forgive. Thus, this study is attempted to understand forgiveness in the context of shared identity. Study I involved 30 Filipino undergraduate students to categorize people whom they interact with not one of us and one of us as well as to identify offenses that require forgiveness. Results from qualitative analyses were integrated in vignette stories which were used as priming for the experiment. In Study II, 62 Filipino undergraduate students were randomly assigned to several experimental conditions for evaluation of interaction effects of forgiveness-seeking behavior and shared identity. Results revealed that a forgiveness-seeking behavior was not being used in forgiving others; instead, it was the degree of relationship that determines one’s tendency to forgive. People who have developed a more profound relationship with others may be forgiven more easily because of the nature of the relationship one has with the transgressor. Thus, the decision to forgive may be considered multilayered and it had to be examined in both micro and macro levels.


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