Date of Award

8-2004

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Janice Zeman

Second Committee Member

Cynthia Erdley

Third Committee Member

Michael Robbins

Abstract

The present research examined relationships among self-consciousness, shameand guilt-proneness, the regulation of emotions (i.e., anger, sadness, anxiety), and dimensions of psychopathology (i.e., internalizing, externalizing) in adolescence. In particular, a mediational model positing that any relationship among shame, guilt, and psychopathology would be mediated through the regulation of basic affects was tested. A community population of 193 adolescents (1 1 1 females, 82 males) in grades 10 to 12 (M,, = 16 years, 0 months; SD = 1 1.29 months) and their mothers/matemal guardians completed self- and parent-report questionnaires. The majority of participants identified themselves as Caucasian and of middle class background. Adolescents completed measures of guilt- and shame-proneness (i.e., Test of Self-Conscious Affect for Adolescents, Self-Conscious Emotions: Maladaptive and Adaptive Scales-modified), measures of anger, sadness, and anxiety regulation (i.e., State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2, Children's Anger, Sadness, and Anxiety Management Scales), a measure of internalizing and externalizing symptomatology (i.e., Youth Self-Report), and a measure of self-consciousness (i.e., Self-Consciousness Scale). Mothers completed measures of their adolescent's emotion regulation skills (i.e., parent-report versions of the Children's Anger, Sadness, and Anxiety Management Scales) and internalizing and externalizing behaviors (i.e., Child Behavior Checklist). Results indicated that emotion regulation was an important mediator of the relationships among shame-proneness, guilt-proneness, and internalizing and externalizing symptomatology. Furthermore, interesting gender differences were revealed. The frndings suggested that emotion substitution plays a role in the experience of shame and guilt. In addition, the results indicated important differences between shame- and adaptive guilt-proneness, such that shame-proneness contributed to poorer emotion regulation skills, which in turn contributed to greater internalizing and externalizing symptornatology, whereas adaptive guilt-proneness contributed to better emotion regulation skills, which in turn contributed to less externalizing symptomatology. Moreover, the results indicated that shame-proneness is a more important contributor to internalizing than to externalizing symptomatology, and that the direct pathway between shame-proneness and internalizing symptomatology is stronger for males than females. The pattern of results fbrther suggested that there may be gender differences in adaptive guilt, leading to stronger relationships among adaptive guiltproneness, self-consciousness, and externalizing behaviors for males than females. The implications of this research for theory and practice are discussed.

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