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J Clin Psychol. 2000 Jan;56(1):51-61.

Shame and guilt in women with eating-disorder symptomatology.

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1
School of Psychology, University of New England, Armidale NSW, Australia.

Abstract

The relationship of shame and guilt to eating-disorder symptomatology was investigated in a sample of 97 Australian women. In terms of the objective of predicting the severity of eating disturbance, the study explored the predictive utility of proneness to shame and guilt in a global sense, shame and guilt associated specifically with eating contexts, and shame associated with the body. The study also sought to determine if shame is a more prominent emotion than guilt among women who have eating difficulties. Shame associated with eating behavior was the strongest predictor of the severity of eating-disorder symptomatology. Other effective predictors were guilt associated with eating behavior and body shame. Eating disturbance was unrelated to proneness to shame and guilt in a global sense. Discussion of these findings focuses on the issue of determining whether self-conscious affects are best regarded as causes or as consequences of eating disturbance.

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