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Shame and guilt-proneness: Divergent implications for problematic alcohol use and drinking to cope with anxiety and depression symptomatology


Treeby, M and Bruno, R, Shame and guilt-proneness: Divergent implications for problematic alcohol use and drinking to cope with anxiety and depression symptomatology, Personality and Individual Differences, 53, (5) pp. 613-617. ISSN 0191-8869 (2012) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 Crown Copyright

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.paid.2012.05.011


Shame and guilt are closely related emotions of negative affect that give rise to considerably divergent motivational and self-regulatory behaviors. While shame-proneness has demonstrated replicable relationships with increased alcohol use disorder symptomatology, guilt-proneness appears to protect an individual against development of problematic alcohol use. One prominent but untested hypothesis is that shame-prone individuals are motivated to consume alcohol in order to down-regulate experiences of negative affect. The present study aimed to test this hypothesis by exploring relationships between shame and guilt-proneness with motivations for consuming alcohol. University students (N = 281) completed measures of shame and guilt-proneness, measures of alcohol use disorder symptomatology, and a measure assessing five motivational domains for consuming alcohol. Shame-proneness was positively associated with problematic alcohol use and drinking as a means of coping with anxiety and depression- related symptomatology. In contrast, guilt-proneness was inversely related to alcohol problems and drinking to cope with depression. This study provides initial support for the hypothesis that shame-prone individuals are inclined to consume alcohol in order to cope with negative affect states. These findings may help explain the inverse relationship between guilt-proneness and alcohol problems and the apparent positive relationship between shame-proneness and problematic alcohol use.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Alcohol Abuse
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Clinical and health psychology
Research Field:Health psychology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Treeby, M (Mr Matt Treeby)
UTAS Author:Bruno, R (Associate Professor Raimondo Bruno)
ID Code:78768
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:69
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2012-07-25
Last Modified:2017-11-03
Downloads:1 View Download Statistics

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