Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Susan L. Crowley (co-chair), Tamara J. Ferguson (co-chair)


Susan L. Crowley


Tamara J. Ferguson


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the degrees of proneness to the self-conscious emotions of nonruminative guilt, ruminative guilt, and shame and several indices of psychological functioning, including depression, narcissism, anger, dysphoric affect, cooperation, need for affection, and self-inspection, in a college population. Gender differences were also examined.

A measure of psychological functioning (the Rorschach) and a measure of guilt- and shame-proneness (the Test of Self-Conscious Affect--Modified) were administered to 91 college students (43 males and 48 females). Females reported higher levels of all three self-conscious emotions. The only gender difference found among the psychological functioning variables was higher levels of narcissism for males. For the total sample, cooperation was related to nonruminative guilt, whereas an unhealthy level of need for affection was related to ruminative guilt and shame. When males and females were considered separately, depression was related to ruminative guilt in males, but not in females. Narcissism was related to all three emotions for males, but not for females. An absence of dysphoric affect was associated with nonruminative guilt in females. Cooperation and self-inspection both correlated with nonruminative guilt for females, but not for males. The predominant emotion related to unhealthy levels of need for affection was shame for males but ruminative guilt for females. Preliminary results from 21 subjects with positive DEPI scores differed from the results of the entire sample in the relationships between the self-conscious emotions and dysphoric affect, self-inspection, and cooperation.

Study results were discussed in light of the different levels of awareness at which the Rorschach and the TOSCA--M assess emotions and psychological functioning. Socialization of gender differences in guilt- and shame-proneness was also discussed. Implications for treatment, future research, and creation of future assessments of guilt- and shame-proneness were examined.



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