Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Tamara Ferguson


Shame and guilt are considered to be important emotions for empirical study for a variety of reasons. Developmental psychologists are interested in the emergence of shame and guilt as they relate to the child's understanding of societal and familial expectations/norms and the subsequent development of conscience (Zahn-Waxler & Kochanska, 1990). Social psychologists study how guilt and shame are used to create power differentials and restore equity to relationships (Baumeister, Stillwell, & Heatherton, 1994). Finally, clinicians have long thought shame and guilt to be involved in the development of disorders such as anxiety and depression (H.B. Lewis, 1971). However, those within the clinical realm have often used the words "shame" and "guilt" interchangeably, and even the DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) fails to draw a clear distinction between the two. Because of the lack of conceptual clarity, there is is also confusion regarding whether shame and guilt are distinct precursors to different disorders.

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