ERIC Number: EJ780107
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Shame, Guilt, Symptoms of Depression, and Reported History of Psychological Maltreatment
Webb, Marcia; Heisler, Dawn; Call, Steve; Chickering, Sarah A.; Colburn, Trina A.
Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal, v31 n11-12 p1143-1153 Nov-Dec 2007
Objective: The purpose of the present study was to provide preliminary data extending earlier research on shame and guilt, examining their relationships both to symptoms of depression and to psychological maltreatment. Symptoms of depression were expected to correlate positively with shame, but not with guilt. Psychological maltreatment was also expected to correlate positively with shame. The relationship between psychological maltreatment and guilt was examined on an exploratory basis. Method: Two hundred and eighty participants from a public community college and a private university completed scales assessing shame, guilt, depression, and history of childhood psychological maltreatment. Pearson correlations were conducted with all data. Results: Results indicated that symptoms of depression were positively correlated with both shame and guilt. Partial correlations were then conducted in which the linear effects of shame were removed from guilt. In this latter analysis, guilt was no longer positively correlated with symptoms of depression. Psychological maltreatment was also positively correlated with depression and with shame, but not with guilt. Conclusions: These results highlight the significance of psychological maltreatment in the relationship to the self-conscious emotions of guilt and shame. As in earlier studies, shame has been consistently correlated to poor psychological functioning, while guilt appears to be relatively unrelated to pathological functioning.
Descriptors: Child Abuse, College Students, Psychology, Depression (Psychology), Anxiety, Symptoms (Individual Disorders), Psychological Patterns, Correlation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
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