Background. Several theories have been advanced to explain variation in the intensity of regret. Thus far, these theories have been tested in isolation. Aim: To compare the effects of several key theoretical variables on regret intensity: The time since the regretted event, whether the regret was one of action or inaction, the level of justification felt, and whether or not the regretted decision violated the participant’s personal life rules. Method: A postal survey of 429 New Zealand adults. Conclusions: Contradicting folk wisdom and previous research, action regrets were felt more intensely than inaction regrets. The passing of time led to action regrets being felt even more intensely (in comparison to regrets of inaction), falsifying a prediction of the temporal theory of regret. The strongest predictor of regret intensity was the domain of regret: Regrets in intimate domains were felt more intensely than regrets in non-intimate domains.
New Zealand Psychological Society Annual Conference: Ka tū, ka oho - Te matai hinengaro me te ao hou: Psychology in a Changing World: Programme, 2014, pp. 51 - 51 (1)