Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dissertation on shame. Chapter 13.1 An emotional state of being

13.1 An emotional state of being

Izard’s Differential Emotional Scale (Izard 1977) is, according to Tangney and Dearing (2002), the most widely used measurement tool for evaluating emotional states. A drawback here is that this scale merges shame and embarrassment and does not acknowledge that they can be viewed as two distinct emotions. Another measurement tool is the State Guilt Scale (Kugler and Jones 1992), but it does not seem to distinguish between shame and guilt experiences either. According to Tangney and Dearing (2002), Turner (1998) has attempted to develop a solid scale for measuring shame in her doctoral dissertation: the Experimental Shame Scale.
 Tangney and Dearing (2002) also mention the verbal, paralinguistic and non-verbal markers developed by Retzinger (1987, 1991) (appendix 5). These markers are context-related; that is, their relevance depends on the relationship between self and other. These markers have been important in my analysis of the videotaped recordings of interviews in my exploration of the concept of shame. Retzinger’s (1991) research on shame was carried out within the context of marital quarrels and the markers she has created from this research must be viewed in the context she has collected her data from. I have developed a similar list of markers for shame based on the interviews in this exploration within the context of sexual abuse (appendix 20). The two lists can not in my opinion be compared without taking into consideration that the research is carried out in two different contexts. But the design which Retzinger developed within her frame of research seems in my opinion to be of value to use also in the context which this exploration is carried out in. These markers need in my opinion to be investigated further in order to be able to evaluate how valid they are. I see that many of the categories overlap each other and may be markers for other emotions than shame. I also see that paralinguistic and non-verbal markers such as laughing, smiling, scratching, hiding can signify just what they are and not have anything to do with shame. The list should not be used mechanically; doing so would lead to the misperception of seeing shame where shame is not. The aim of the construction of these markers has been to explore how one can develop and organize words for describing what can be observed on a verbal, paralinguistic and non-verbal level in conversations where shame may be present within the settings of sexual abuse. The list might in my opinion have a value in helping those who struggle for finding words to use in their life stories where shame is present and for the helpers to preceive what the other is saying with words and body. The list shows in my opinion the complexity of shame; an emotion which can engulf the whole self, both mind and body. 

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