Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jennifer Groscup

Reader 2

Jillian Janowiak

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Theories of self-conscious emotional experience suggest that shame and guilt arise as a result of negative self-appraisals surrounding one’s conformity to social norms; however, shame focuses on whole-self appraisal while guilt focuses more specifically on the actions one has taken. As a result, shame tends to be associated with more negative aspects of behavior, mental health, and wellbeing. Thus, it is valuable to examine possible aspects of development that influence individuals’ tendencies toward shame or guilt. Some evidence suggests that negative parenting styles are associated with shame, and positive parenting styles with guilt. This study aims to investigate whether the parenting dimensions of responsiveness and demandingness are associated with shame-proneness and guilt-proneness in early adolescence, and whether peer social support can function as a protective factor. It is predicted that guilt-proneness will be associated with higher responsiveness and lower demandingness, while shame-proneness will be associated with lower responsiveness and higher demandingness. It is also predicted that perceived peer support will moderate the relationships between parenting styles and shame-proneness such that these relationships will be weaker for those with high social support than those with low social support. Finally, it is predicted that there will be gender differences in shame and guilt, such that females and non-binary individuals will have higher levels of both shame and guilt-proneness than males. The results of this study will expand understanding about self-conscious emotions, the impact of parenting styles on emotional development, and possible protective factors to promote beneficial outcomes in early adolescents with adverse upbringings.