Childhood maltreatment and adulthood proneness to shame and guilt: The mediating role of maladaptive schemas

Mahsa Mojallal, Raluca M. Simons, Jeffrey S. Simons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The current study aimed to examine the mediating role of early maladaptive schemas (EMSs) in the associations between types of childhood maltreatment and adulthood proneness to shame and guilt. A path analysis was tested to examine the direct and indirect effects of neglect, sexual abuse, and punishment on shame and guilt via EMSs of incompetence, failure, social isolation, emotional inhibition, and unrelenting standards, over and above gender. Data were collected from 415 university students (73% female) aged 18–26. Participants completed self-report measures of childhood maltreatment, EMSs, and shame and guilt. Neglect was indirectly associated with increased shame-withdraw via incompetence. Sexual abuse was directly associated with decreased guilt-repair. Punishment was indirectly associated with increased guilt-repair via unrelenting standards. Results identified different developmental pathways of proneness to shame and guilt and supported the mediating role of EMSs of incompetence and unrelenting standards. Findings provide support for treatments of shame that target childhood neglect and maladaptive schemas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-210
Number of pages14
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Childhood maltreatment
  • Guilt
  • Maladaptive schemas
  • Neglect
  • Shame

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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