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Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease:
Articles

Understanding Shame in Adults: Retrospective Perceptions of Parental-Bonding During Childhood

LUTWAK, NITA Ph.D1; FERRARI, JOSEPH R. Ph.D.2

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Abstract

The association between perceptions of parental-bonding style during childhood and moral affect of shame at young adulthood were examined with 264 women and 140 men (mean age [± SD] = 20.4 ± 1.6 years old). Shame affect was significantly positively related to fear of negative evaluation by others and social avoidance, and negatively related to recalled parental care in one's childhood. Multiple regression analyses indicated that maternal protectiveness, paternal care, fear of negative social evaluation, and social avoidance were significant predictors of shame, explaining 41% of the variance. Results support object relations theory, which states that shame is a moral affect associated with social evaluation apprehension and may have developmental implications for one's parental relations.

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