Proneness to Shame, Proneness to Guilt, and Psychopathology

June Price Tangney, Patricia Wagner, Richard Gramzow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

548 Scopus citations


The links between shame and guilt and psychopathology were examined. In 2 studies, 245 and 234 undergraduates completed the Self-Conscious Affect and Attribution Inventory, the Symptom Checklist 90, the Beck Depression Inventory, the State-Trait Anxiety Scale, and the Attributional Style Questionnaire. Results failed to support Lewis's (1971) notion that shame and guilt are differentially related to unique symptom clusters. Shame-proneness was strongly related to psychological maladjustment in general. Guilt-proneness was only moderately related to psychopathology; correlations were ascribable entirely to the shared variance between shame and guilt. Although clearly related to a depressogenic attributional style, shame accounted for substantial variance in depression, above and beyond attributional style.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-478
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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