Shamed Into Anger? The Relation of Shame and Guilt to Anger and Self-Reported Aggression

June Price Tangney, Patricia Wagner, Carey Fletcher, Richard Gramzow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

605 Scopus citations


The relation of shame and guilt to anger and aggression has been the focus of considerable theoretical discussion, but empirical findings have been inconsistent. Two recently developed measures of affective style were used to examine whether shame-proneness and guilt-proneness are differentially related to anger, hostility, and aggression. In 2 studies, 243 and 252 undergraduates completed the Self-Conscious Affect and Attribution Inventory, the Symptom Checklist 90, and the Spielberger Trait Anger Scale. Study 2 also included the Test of Self-Conscious Affect and the Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory. Shame-proneness was consistently correlated with anger arousal, suspiciousness, resentment, irritability, a tendency to blame others for negative events, and indirect (but not direct) expressions of hostility. Proneness to "shame-free" guilt was inversely related to externalization of blame and some indices of anger, hostility, and resentment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-675
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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