Self-conscious emotions, general emotional distress, and expressed emotion in family members of patients with schizophrenia

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This study examined the association of self-conscious emotions (shame and guilt) with general emotional distress (GED) and expressed emotion (EE) in family members of patients with schizophrenia. Fifty-seven relatives were given the test of self-conscious affect Tangney et al., 1989, The Test of Self-Conscious Affect. Fairfax, VA: George Mason University) to evaluate their proneness to shame and guilt and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale Lovibond and Lovibond, 1995. Behav Res Ther. 33:335-343) to assess GED. Participants were also interviewed using the Camberwell Family Interview to measure EE. Consistent with Tangney's theory of self-conscious emotions and with study hypotheses, simultaneous regression analyses indicated that increasing shame proneness was strongly and positively associated with caregivers' reported GED whereas increasing guilt proneness was negatively associated with GED. Expressed emotion was not found to relate to self-conscious emotions nor to GED when rated as a dichotomous variable (high vs. low). However, greater shame proneness was associated with lower ratings of emotional overinvolvement, one component of EE. Study implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-308
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010



  • EE
  • Family
  • Guilt
  • Schizophrenia
  • Shame

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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