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Title: Do shame and guilt mediate the relationship between threat to self domains and certainty striving? : an experimental investigation
Author: Oldaker, Rebecca Claire
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 5857
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2014
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Research into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has shown that when highly valued self-domains, such as morality, are threatened, repetitive behaviours may be performed to resolve uncertainty about the self (Doron, Sar-El & Mikulincer, 2012). However, few attempts have been made to understand the emotional link between self-domain threat and certainty striving. Given that shame and guilt arise when discrepancies occur between one’s standards and one’s actual performance, it can be hypothesised these emotions emerge following self-domain threat. A between-participants experimental design was employed to test the hypothesis that shame and guilt mediate the relationship between self-domain threat and certainty striving. Fifty-two participants (20 male, 32 female, M=26.17 years, SD=7.07) were randomly allocated to one of three conditions in which either their sense of morality or competency was threatened or no threat to self was evident. State shame, guilt and pride were measured via a self-report questionnaire followed by tasks operationalising certainty striving and deliberation. Results indicate that both experimental groups reported significantly higher ratings of guilt and lower ratings of pride conpared to the no threat group, as expected. However, groups did not differ significantly in shame ratings. In terms of certainty striving and deliberation, there was little evidence of a difference between experimental groups except for deliberation in the task with the greatest level of ambiguity when a near significant difference emerged for the conpetency group only. The results of the current study suggest that increased guilt and decreased pride might be consequences of self-domain threat. Given the null finding regarding certainty striving behaviour, further replication is required with different operationalisations of this variable.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available