Morality- and identity-related antecedents of children¿s guilt and shame attributions in events involving physical illness [IF: 1.7]

T. Olthof, T.J. Ferguson, E. Bloemers, M. Deij

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Abstract

It is theorised that guilt- and shame-related appraisals vary on two separate dimensions. Guilt implies an appraisal that one has either committed a moral transgression or that one has otherwise been involved in the creation of a morally wrong outcome. Shame implies one's appraisal that the current event or condition reflects negatively on one's identity. To test these claims, 206 7- to 16-year-old children gave shame and guilt ratings of three types of events that were drawn from the domain of physical illness and that were designed to elicit primarily guilt, primarily shame, or both emotions. The 12-year-olds and older children's ratings were fully consistent with our hypothesis. Younger children's greatest difficulty was in not attributing shame to protagonists who were involved in causing a moral wrong without there being the threat of an unwanted identity. © 2004 Psychology Press Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-404
Number of pages22
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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