The relationship between impulsivity and shame and guilt proneness on the prediction of internalizing and externalizing behaviors Academic Article uri icon


  • Shame and guilt are responses to moral transgressions that are characterized by negative self-evaluations and negative behavioral-evaluations, respectively. Previous research has found shame to be the more maladaptive of these "self-conscious" emotions due to its association with various health-risk behaviors. In the current study, undergraduate participants (n = 199) from a large, public university completed behavioral and self-report measures of impulsivity, shame and guilt-proneness, and behavioral tendencies. Exploratory factor analysis and mediation models were used to determine if shame and/or guilt-proneness significantly mediate the relationship between impulsivity and internalized/externalized problems. Findings demonstrate that impulsivity and shame proneness both positively predict internalized and externalized problem behavior, but indirect effects of shame and guilt are not significant. These findings indicate that shame and guilt do not reliably mediate the relationship between impulsivity and problem behavior, but they do support previous findings on the maladaptive nature of impulsivity and shame. Implications for the protective nature of guilt proneness are also discussed.

author list (cited authors)

  • Sanchez, H., Clark, D. A., & Fields, S. A.

citation count

  • 2

publication date

  • November 2019