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Psychol Trauma. 2015 Jan;7(1):43-9. doi: 10.1037/a0037434. Epub 2014 Aug 18.

Role of trait shame in the association between posttraumatic stress and aggression among men with a history of interpersonal trauma.

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Department of Psychiatry & Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center.
VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle Division.


Given the theoretical and empirical associations among posttraumatic stress, shame, and interpersonal aggression, this study examined whether trait shame accounts for the associations between posttraumatic stress and aggressive behavior in a sample of 103 men with a history of interpersonal trauma. Results indicated that trait shame accounted for the associations of posttraumatic stress with the variety of both physically and psychologically aggressive behavior, as well as with the frequency of physical aggression. This study also examined trait guilt, given its conceptual relationship to both shame and posttraumatic stress; unlike trait shame, trait guilt did not account for the association between posttraumatic stress and the variety of physically aggressive acts. Additionally, although trait guilt reduced the association between posttraumatic stress and the frequency of physical aggression, the indirect path including guilt was nonsignificant. Taken together, the present study supports existing theories suggesting that shame, but not guilt, may contribute to aggressive behavior, especially among individuals with histories of traumatic exposure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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