Monday, October 8, 2012

Dissertation on shame. Chapter 13.0 Measuring shame

13.0 Measuring shame

Before starting with the interviews of the employees and users of the Incest Centre in Vestfold, I carried out two quantitative surveys in order to explore shame-proneness and other self-conscious affects (Test of Self-Conscious Affects, TOSCA-3) in a group of 221 university/college students and in a group of 180 sexually abused men and women. These surveys are carried out because I was curious to find out; in what degree shame-proneness is a phenomenon which can at all be measured, if people who have been sexually abused have a greater degree of shame-proneness than university college students, which possible relation shame-proneness might have to other self-conscious emotions such as guilt, and to learn how I can investigate if tests like TOSCA-3 which claim to measure emotions really measures what they promise (construct validity) or if they are really measuring something else. Since the dissertation has en exploratory frame, I have felt free to choose different ways to investigate the concept and phenomenon of shame. It was also of concern that the findings in the quantitative exploration could possibly be of significance of me in the planning and implementation of the interviews.

Tangney and Dearing (2002) argue that there are primarily two methods of measuring shame and guilt. The first is to evaluate emotional states (e.g. how one feels shame and guilt at a particular moment) and the second is to review emotional traits or dispositions (e.g. the proneness to shame and guilt). During the past few decades there has been carried out much research on shame and guilt, but most of this research has been focused on emotional dispositions. It seems that the focus on emotional states has been much weaker. Tangney and Dearing (2002) mention some of the measurement tools that have been developed to evaluate shame and guilt as emotional states. I choose not to go into detail here but wish to refer to some of the most used measurement tools. 

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