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Assessment of self-conscious emotions: a Swedish psychometric and structure evaluation of the test of self-conscious affect (TOSCA)
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8440-6881
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Department of Education, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
2009 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0036-5564, E-ISSN 1467-9450, Vol. 50, no 1, 71-77 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Test of Self-Conscious Affect (TOSCA) is a well-established scenario-based questionnaire assessing self-conscious emotions, such as shame and guilt, which have been shown to be differentially associated with a variety of functional, motivational, behavioral and health outcomes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties and internal structure of a Swedish version of TOSCA in a sample of 361 healthy adults. The psychometric properties and internal consistency of the Swedish version were at level with the original US TOSCA version for shame, guilt and detachment. The internal structure of the Swedish version was acceptable for shame, guilt and detachment but contained shortcomings in assessment of externalization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley , 2009. Vol. 50, no 1, 71-77 p.
Keyword [en]
test of Self-Conscious Affect (TOSCA), psychometric properties, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), shame proneness, guilt proneness
National Category
Psychiatry Psychology
Research subject
Psychiatry; Psychology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-10513DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9450.2008.00674.xOAI: diva2:150184
Available from: 2008-09-23 Created: 2008-09-23 Last updated: 2015-04-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. More or less than human: the influence of shame on psychological distress
Open this publication in new window or tab >>More or less than human: the influence of shame on psychological distress
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Övermänsklig eller undermänsklig : skammens inflytande på psykisk ohälsa
Abstract [en]

Background Shame is a powerful emotion involved in a wide variety of phenomena including psychopathology. The propensity to react with shame to situations of transgression is formed early in life, but the processes by which elevated shame-proneness causes higher levels of psychological distress and functional impairment in some people rather than in others is as yet poorly understood.

Objectives The main objective of this thesis was to further elucidate these processes by investigating the implications for shame states, guilt, general coping strategies, attachment styles, and shame-related coping in this context, as well as to evaluate an assessment method for shame-proneness.

Methods The self-report questionnaires Test of Self-Conscious Affect (TOSCA), Compass of Shame Scale (CoSS-5), Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ), Ways of Coping Questionnaire (WCQ), Attachment Style Questionnaire (ASQ), Symptom Checklist 90 (SCL-90), and an interview measure for event-related shame and guilt were used for assessment in adult normative, healthy-only, crime victim, and patient samples (n=25-361). A combination of uni- and bivariate approaches and multivariate soft and hard modeling approaches were used for statistical analysis.

Results Paper I showed that the TOSCA could be used as a reliable measure for shame-proneness. Paper II showed that guilt was unrelated to post-victimization distress. Elevated shame-proneness was related to higher levels of post-victimization distress. This effect was partially mediated by event-related shame. Paper III showed that in CFS patients, higher levels of shame-proneness, escape-avoidance, and accepting responsibility coping contributed to elevated levels of psychological distress. Seeking support, positive reappraisal coping, and proneness to detachment contributed in the opposite direction. These relationships were weaker in the comparison groups. Paper IV showed that shame-proneness was associated with secure attachment style in a negative direction. Higher levels of secure attachment style contributed to lower levels of psychological distress, whereas shame-proneness, insecure attachment styles and withdrawal, attack self, and attack other shame coping strategies contributed in the opposite direction. There were mean differences between women and men regarding most of the variables, butiithe relationships between variables did not differ between men and women.

Conclusions The association between shame-proneness and psycho-logical distress seem to involve a complex balancing act between motives toward preserving close relationships and protecting a relatively positive sense of self. If others are perceived as trustworthy and compassionate and are utilized for support in times of need, the effects of shame-proneness may be less debilitating, whereas if others are perceived as distancing or disapproving, and life stress and social transgressions are managed by escape strategies, social withdrawal, self-blame or by transferring blame onto others, the distress effects become more severe. The inner psychodynamics of these functional patterns seem to be rather similar in women and men.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2011. 60 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1465
Shame, shame-proneness, guilt, self-conscious emotions, psychological distress, coping, attachment styles, Compass of Shame
National Category
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-50080 (URN)978-91-7459-327-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-12-16, Psykiatriska klinikens föreläsningssal A, byggnad 23 (målpunkt F), suterrängplanet (noll-planet), Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2011-11-25 Created: 2011-11-24 Last updated: 2015-04-29Bibliographically approved

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Strömsten, Lotta MJHenningsson, MikaelSundbom, Elisabet
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