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Unwanted Identities: A Key Variable in Shame–Anger Links and Gender Differences in Shame
The present study examined the role that unwanted identities play in accounting for extant findings concerning gender differences in shame-proneness. The construct of unwanted identities was also used to explain why powerful associations have been found between shame and anger. College students (48 men, 84 women) rated their feelings of shame, guilt, anger, and unwanted identities in response to the TOSCA-2 scenarios, known to yield robust gender differences in shame, and to new scenarios, meant to be more threatening to men''s than women''s identities. Even after accounting for shared variance between shame and guilt, evidence supported the conclusion that women''s greater shame-proneness than men''s could be an artifact, reflecting the more threatening nature of previous situations to women''s identities. Mediational analyses also confirmed that unwanted identities elicit shame, which, in turn, is a powerful instigator of anger. Discussion focuses on inconsistencies between the present results and expectations based on previous theory and research.