The Influences of Parental Behaviors and Individuation on Self-conscious Emotions of Adolescents and Emerging Adults

Gavriella Mintz, Pace University


Shame and guilt have been distinguished as two separate self-conscious emotions; the former depicts a global negative self-evaluation, whereas the latter describes the recognition of a specific problematic behavior. Current approaches to shame and guilt have linked proneness to shame and guilt with people's experiences of the parenting characteristics of their caregivers. Additionally, accumulating evidence has linked shame and guilt to identity development in the adolescent years. This study compared the relationship of perceived parenting behaviors to individuals' tendencies to experience shame and guilt. Partial correlations were used to separate the influence of shame and guilt, and results showed a consistent, positive relationship between positive parenting behaviors and levels of guilt-proneness. Similarly, a positive correlation emerged between shame-proneness and negative parenting behaviors, but a consistent relationship between shame-proneness and positive parenting behaviors did not emerge. Correlations also were conducted to examine whether participants' levels of shame— and guilt-proneness were predicted by their levels of individuation. Correlations between guilt-proneness and individuation were not consistent, but when significant correlations emerged, they were in the predicted direction of more guilt-proneness being linked to greater individuation. Shame-proneness negatively correlated with indivuation, and most strongly amongst older emerging adults. Finally, the relationship between parenting behaviors and guilt-proneness, but not shame-proneness, was moderated by individuation. These results emphasize the importance of separating shame and guilt in assessments of these two constructs. Additionally, they deepen an understanding of the role of socialization and developmental factors in shaping the experiences of shame and guilt.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Personality psychology|Individual & family studies|Cognitive psychology

Recommended Citation

Mintz, Gavriella, "The Influences of Parental Behaviors and Individuation on Self-conscious Emotions of Adolescents and Emerging Adults" (2013). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3574427.



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