Transgression-Related Interpersonal Motivations Inventory (TRIM-18)

Author of Tool: 

McCullough, M. E

Key references: 

McCullough, M. E., Root, L. M., & Cohen, A. D. (2006). Writing about the benefits of an interpersonal transgression facilitates forgiveness. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74, 887–897.

Primary use / Purpose: 

Assesses motivations towards a transgressor


Interpersonal transgressions are a class of interpersonal stressors in which people perceive that another person has harmed them in a way that they consider both painful and morally wrong. Interpersonal transgressions can have negative effects on mental health. Transgressions frequently elicit a desire to avoid the transgressor, a desire to seek revenge against the transgressor, and a decline in goodwill for the transgressor (McCullough et al., 1998; McCullough, Worthington, & Rachal, 1997). Such motivational reactions themselves can have negative interpersonal, psychological, and health effects. Therefore, helping people modify their responses to transgressions may be useful for helping them improve their relationships as well as their psychological and physical health. Forgiveness has been conceptualized as a process of reducing one’s negative (avoidance and revenge) motivations toward a transgressor and restoring one’s positive motivations regarding a transgressor (McCullough et al., 1997). To measure these motivational changes authors designed the TRIM–18 Inventory (McCullough et al., 1998). The seven-item Avoidance subscale measures motivation to avoid a transgressor (e.g., “I live as if he/she doesn’t exist, isn’t around”). The five-item Revenge subscale measures motivation to seek revenge (e.g., “I’ll make him/her pay”).


Both have high internal consistency ( .85), moderate test–retest stability (e.g., 8-week test–retest rs .50), and evidence of construct validity (McCullough et al.,
2001, 1998). Items are rated on a 5-point Likert-type scale (1 strongly disagree to 5 strongly agree). A recent addition is a six-item subscale for measuring benevolence motivation (e.g., “Even though his/her actions hurt me, I have goodwill for him/her”) that also has good reliability (McCullough et al., 2003; McCullough & Hoyt, 2002). These 6 items are rated on the same 5-point Likert-type scale as are the 12 avoidance and revenge items.


Digital Object Identifier (DOI):