The Specter of Shame in Substance Misuse

School of Social Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland 21250, USA.
Substance Use & Misuse (Impact Factor: 1.23). 02/2007; 42(2-3):399-409. DOI: 10.1080/10826080601142196
Source: PubMed


This article provides an introduction to the concept of shame as it relates to substance misuse. Empirical research on shame and addiction and the theoretical and operational definitions that underpin them are discussed. Potential areas of further inquiry are highlighted. Implications for clinical practice are discussed.

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    • "Developing the ability to forgive seems to have a special role in the treatment for people addicted to alcohol (Worthington et al. 2006). On the one hand, a person who abuses alcohol charges others with the responsibility for their addiction, and on the other hand, in the periods of abstinence, he or she can suffer from overwhelming feelings of shame and worthlessness, which often results in discontinuance of abstinence (Wiechelt 2007). People who strongly believe in God may additionally feel it is impossible to reconstruct the relationship with the Higher Being because of their transgressions and diverting from God. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the study was to examine the sex differences in the initial level of spiritual coping, forgiveness, and gratitude and changes occurring in these areas during a basic alcohol addiction treatment program. The study involved 112 persons, including 56 women and 56 men, who started and completed a basic alcohol addiction treatment pro-gram at day care units of 11 treatment centers. Two measurements were taken: one in the first week of the treatment, and one in the last week (5th–7th week after baseline). The Spiritual Coping Questionnaire, the Forgiveness Scale, and Gratitude Questionnaire were used. When starting the therapy, women had a higher level of negative spiritual coping (p = .024) and a lower level of forgiveness of others (p = .041) than men. During the therapy, positive changes in spiritual coping occurred in both sex groups, although in the case of women they involved improvements in more domains and they were stronger. The increase in the level of moral values (except for self-forgiveness) was noted solely in women. The study reveals the need to take sex differences into consideration when introducing spiritual elements into the therapy.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Religion and Health
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    • "In discussing the apparent link between shame-proneness and alcohol problems, several theorists (e.g., Dearing et al., 2005; Fossum & Mason, 1986; Potter-Efron, 2002; Stuewig & Tangney, 2007; Tangney & Dearing, 2002; Wiechelt, 2007) have hypothesised that shame-prone individuals drink as a means of downregulating or coping with frequent and highly aversive experiences of shame and other negative emotions. This hypothesis is consistent "
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    ABSTRACT: Shame and guilt are closely related emotions of negative affect that give rise to considerably divergent motivational and self-regulatory behaviors. While shame-proneness has demonstrated replicable relationships with increased alcohol use disorder symptomatology, guilt-proneness appears to protect an individual against development of problematic alcohol use. One prominent but untested hypothesis is that shame-prone individuals are motivated to consume alcohol in order to down-regulate experiences of negative affect. The present study aimed to test this hypothesis by exploring relationships between shame and guilt-proneness with motivations for consuming alcohol. University students (N = 281) completed measures of shame and guilt-proneness, measures of alcohol use disorder symptomatology, and a measure assessing five motivational domains for consuming alcohol. Shame-proneness was positively associated with problematic alcohol use and drinking as a means of coping with anxiety and depression-related symptomatology. In contrast, guilt-proneness was inversely related to alcohol problems and drinking to cope with depression. This study provides initial support for the hypothesis that shame-prone individuals are inclined to consume alcohol in order to cope with negative affect states. These findings may help explain the inverse relationship between guilt-proneness and alcohol problems and the apparent positive relationship between shame-proneness and problematic alcohol use.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Personality and Individual Differences
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    ABSTRACT: Although compulsive buying is understood as an attempt to deal with chronic negative affect, the role of self-conscious emotions has not been explicitly theorized nor empirically examined. One objective of this manuscript was to fill this gap by integrating the escape theory account of compulsive buying with the psychological literature on negative self-conscious emotions. Specifically, shame-proneness was posited to be an important risk factor of compulsive buying severity. Another objective of this study was to examine the use of avoidant coping strategies following buying lapses and relate them with dispositional self-conscious emotions. Specifically, it was hypothesized that the use of avoidant coping strategies following buying lapses would be positively influenced by shame-proneness, and that this effect would be partially mediated by compulsive buying. These hypotheses received strong support from two studies, in which compulsive buying was assessed with different self-report instruments.
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