International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 12 Num. 2 - June 2012


Shame memories and psychopathology in adolescence: The mediator effect of shame

Volume 12 Num. 2 - June 2012 - Pages 203-218


Marina Cunha , Marcela Matos , Daniela Faria , Sofia Zagalo


Research on shame and shame memories and their impact on psychopathology is scarce in adolescence. This study explored the relationships among these variables in this developmental period and tested a mediator model in which current shame feelings (external and internal shame) were predicted to be mediators between shame memories traumatic and centrality features and depressive and anxiety symptoms. Three hundred and fifty four adolescents were assessed on measures of shame traumatic memory, centrality of shame memory, external shame, internal shame and depression and anxiety symptoms. Path analysis results showed that current feelings of external and internal shame fully mediated the effect of centrality of shame memory on depression and anxiety symptoms and partially mediated the effect of shame traumatic memory on these psychopathological indicators. These findings emphasise the role of external and internal shame on how shame experiences that become traumatic and central memories to self-identity impact on psychopathology, validating the biopsychosocial model of shame in adolescence. In addition, our study may contribute to develop clinical assessment and intervention with adolescents.

Key words:

external shame, internal shame, shame memory, depression, anxiety, adolescents.

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