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Shame and the emotional impact of schizophrenia

George, Darren; (1999) Shame and the emotional impact of schizophrenia. Doctoral thesis (D.Clin.Psy), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Empirical research suggests that shame is a particularly painful emotion that is linked to psychopathology, in particular depression. Shame is considered the affect associated with attacks on the self Given that schizophrenia represents an attack on the self, it was postulated that levels of shame are likely to be high in individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia. The study aimed to examine the relationship between shame and depression in schizophrenia. Method: A total of sixty participants were involved in the study. The experimental group consisted of twenty individuals with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Two control groups were used. Firstly, in an attempt to control for mental illness and to understand the relationship between depression and shame, twenty individuals who presented to psychiatric services with symptoms of depression acted as a psychiatric control group. Secondly, in an attempt to control for chronic illness, twenty out-patients with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis participated. The participants completed a Stroop task to measure attentional biases to shame words, constructed by the experimenter. This was followed by a series of self-report questionnaires measuring levels of shame and guilt, depression, suicidal ideation, insight and recovery style from an illness. Results: The main findings were: There were no group differences in attentional bias to shame words. The groups differed on measures of shame and guilt. The experimental group and the psychiatric control group had higher levels of global shame. Schizophrenia was also associated with lower levels of trait shame. The high levels of global shame in schizophrenia distinguished those who were depressed from those who were not depressed. Differences in shame between the groups was not due to differences in levels of depression between the groups. Regression analyses suggested that compared with the psychiatric control group, global shame has a greater association with depression in the experimental group. This supports the importance of shame in schizophrenia as speculated in the Introduction. The findings were discussed in relation to the existing literature, their clinical implications and directions for future.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Clin.Psy
Title: Shame and the emotional impact of schizophrenia
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology; Schizophrenia
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10107518
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