Validation of the TOSCA to measure shame and guilt

Sandra L. Woien, Heidi A.H. Ernst, Julie Patock-Peckham, Craig T. Nagoshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


A college student sample (190 females, 148 males) was administered the Test of Self-Conscious Affect (TOSCA), which yields scales for shame and guilt. Subjects were also measured on perceived parenting, personality dimensions, religiosity, and psychological adjustment. There was some evidence that parental overprotection was associated with shame in males and guilt in females, while religiosity was largely not predictive of shame or guilt. Personality measures indicative of external locus of control and poor self-regulation were significantly correlated with shame for both males and females, with smaller effects in the opposite direction for guilt. For both genders, shame was highly predictive of poorer psychological adjustment, as measured by self-esteem, perceived stress, and psychiatric symptomatology, while guilt was uncorrelated with adjustment. These results support the validity of the TOSCA and suggest that shame is a significant risk factor for poor psychological adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-326
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2003


  • Guilt
  • Parenting style
  • Personality
  • Psychological adjustment
  • Religiosity
  • Shame

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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