Anticipated feelings of guilt and shame as predictors of early adolescents' antisocial and prosocial interpersonal behaviour.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The primary aim of this study was to examine how early adolescents' anticipated guilt and shame before adults in response to wrong doing are related to each other and to their antisocial and prosocial behaviour. Measures of anticipated guilt and shame before adults were obtained from 363 10- to 13-year-old participants. Correlational analyses were used to relate participants' anticipated guilt and shame before adults to their teacher-reported aggressive behaviour, to a peer-report-based measure of antisocial behaviour that combined nomination-based measures of bullying, aggression, and unempathic behaviour, and to a peer-report-based measure of prosocial behaviour that combined nomination-based measures of helping victims of bullying and of empathic behaviour. For exploratory reasons, anticipated guilt and shame before adults were also related to a peer-nomination-based measure of participants' outsider behaviour, that is their tendency to actively avoid all involvement in bullying. Results indicated that there was a considerable positive relation between anticipated guilt and shame before adults and that both types of anticipated affective responses were negatively related to antisocial behaviour and positively to prosocial and outsider behaviour. However, when guilt and shame before adults were controlled for each other using regression analyses, only guilt was positively related to prosocial behaviour and only shame before adults was negatively related to antisocial behaviour and positively to outsider behaviour. The findings concerning anticipated guilt are interpreted as being in line with previous theoretical and empirical accounts that depict guilt as an empathy-based response that helps the individual both to inhibit antisocial behaviour and to maintain important interpersonal relationships. The findings concerning shame before adults are interpreted as suggesting that anticipated shame before an audience that values the individual's adherence to moral norms primarily serves to inhibit antisocial behaviour. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-388
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Developmental Psychology
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Anticipated feelings of guilt and shame as predictors of early adolescents' antisocial and prosocial interpersonal behaviour.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this