Shame and guilt have captured the attention of scholars and clinicians for generations, but have only recently begun to be subjected to systematic empirical scrutiny. This book reports on the growing body of knowledge on these key self-conscious emotions, integrating findings from the authors' original research program with other data emerging from clinical, social, personality, and developmental psychology. The authors demonstrate that shame and guilt have significant-and surprisingly disparate-implications for many aspects of human functioning, with particular relevance for interpersonal relationships. The book examines such compelling topics as the varying levels of empathy shown by "shame-prone" and "guilt-prone" individuals; links to anger, hostility, and aggression; and effects of shame and guilt on psychological adaptation and moral behavior. Clinical applications of the research are discussed in depth, as are methodological and assessment issues; developmental considerations; and implications for parenting, education, and social policy.
"Among the human emotions, shame and guilt have been relatively neglected by psychologists and other behavioral scientists. Moreover, work on these topics has been hampered by fuzzy conceptualization, armchair theorizing, and inadequate reliance on empirical research. In one fell swoop, Tangney and Dearing have remedied this situation. Drawing upon a broad array of theory and research in social, personality, developmental, and clinical psychology (including the first author's 15-year program of research), Shame and Guilt is an outstanding work of scholarship, as meticulously researched as it is interesting and readable. It will become an instant classic in the literature on emotion."--Mark R. Leary, PhD, Wake Forest University
"This important and readable book represents the culmination of years of work by the world's foremost expert on shame and guilt. In clear, straightforward prose, it brings the reader through the tortured history of ideas on the topic, through the first author's definitive research program and the accumulated findings of many others, and provides a powerful understanding of how these affective experiences shape human life. Shame and guilt are superficially similar, but any reader of this book will quickly grasp how one of them is the 'evil twin' of the other and why they lead into such different directions. This is an indispensable book for anyone wanting an up-to-date overview of the very different natures of these influential emotions."--Roy F. Baumeister, PhD, author of Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty and Meanings of Life.
"Shame and guilt are emotions that almost all experience, but upon which few wish to dwell. Tangney and Dearing provide an engaging, bold, and provocative analysis of differences between these emotions, and the correlates of being prone to each of them. Their analysis will be of interest and use to students, teachers, and therapists, among others. The proposed link between shame-proneness and aggression is especially intriguing."--C. Daniel Batson, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Kansas
"This book provides a comprehensive yet comprehensible review of work on shame and guilt that stems from the author's extensive knowledge of the field. Because Tangney is a skilled scientist with an interest in applications of research, she provides insight into both the scientific process and the implications for therapy, moral development in childhood, and interpersonal relationships. I recommend the book for graduate students, scientists interested in emotion and moral development, practitioners concerned with issues of shame and guilt, and anyone who wants an authoritative overview of current knowledge in this area."--Nancy Eisenberg, PhD, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University