Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dissertation on shame. Chapter 13.2. An emotional disposition

13.2 An emotional disposition

Tangney and Dearing (2002) argue that a lot of research has been carried out to increase the number of dispositional measures. The notion underlying these measures, they argue, is that not only do most people have the capacity to experience both shame and guilt, but that

There are individual differences in the degree to which people are prone to experience shame and/or guilt across a range of situations involving failures or transgressions (Tangney and Dearing 2002: 27-28).

Since the research carried out by Lewis (1971), most dispositional measures have distinguished between shame and guilt. Some of these studies have developed measurement scales using shame or guilt inducing situations. The objective here is to give respondents a list of shame and/or guilt inducing situations and to have them rate how they would react on a given scale. This approach was first introduced by Pearlman (1958). Others who have contributed to measuring shame and guilt in distinct shame or guilt inducing situations are Beall (1972); Johnson, Danko, Huang, Park, Johnson & Nagoshi (1987); and Cheek & Hogan (1983). Elison, Lennon and Pulos (2006) have developed a scale for assessing the use of the four styles of coping with shame described by Nathanson (1992): Attack Self, Withdrawal, Attack Other, and Avoidance. The assumption in all these dispositional measurement scales is that some situations induce shame while others induce guilt and that this can be measured. The second method of measuring the disposition for shame and guilt is by using the Global Adjective Checklists. Here respondents are asked to rate how well different adjectives describe them.

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