Relation between Shame, Nutrition and Happiness in Children

Acta Científica Venezolana, Forthcoming

27 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2014 Last revised: 4 Aug 2021

See all articles by Klaus Jaffe

Klaus Jaffe

Universidad Simon Bolivar

Jennifer Bernal

Universidad Simón Bolívar (USB)

Hector Herrera

Universidad Simón Bolívar (USB)

Date Written: March 20, 2014

Abstract

Shame helps cement social cooperation, in part by triggering facial expressions that provide biological “honest signals” recovering trust. The variability of feelings of shame among children and its relationship with food insecurity and happiness were assessed using questionnaires filled by children. The strongest feeling of shame in children was being seen naked in public (Shame-naked). Severe levels of shamefulness when others noticed the child’s lack of available food (Shame-food) were correlated with higher food insecurity. Children that had an abnormally low Body Mass Index showed reduced shamefulness of Shame-naked. Maximum reported Shame-naked occurred at ages around puberty and girls reported more shamefulness than boys. Happiness was affected by aspects of food security of the child. Results suggest the existence of at least two types of shame that are affected in different ways by environmental conditions: Shame to be seen naked that is negatively correlated with Body Mass Index; and shame related to interactions with peers that correlates positively with Food Insecurity. This suggests that shame is an evolutionary adaptation, malleable by environmental conditions, fomenting fidelity among reproductive couples, stabilizing families in the long term and eventually enhancing trust and social cohesiveness.

Keywords: shame, children, environment, nutrition, food security, hunger, evolution

JEL Classification: I39

Suggested Citation

Jaffe, Klaus and Bernal, Jennifer and Herrera, Hector, Relation between Shame, Nutrition and Happiness in Children (March 20, 2014). Acta Científica Venezolana, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2412051 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2412051

Klaus Jaffe (Contact Author)

Universidad Simon Bolivar ( email )

Sartenejas
Caracas
Venezuela

Jennifer Bernal

Universidad Simón Bolívar (USB) ( email )

Sartenejas
Caracas, 1080A
Venezuela

Hector Herrera

Universidad Simón Bolívar (USB)

Sartenejas
Caracas, 1080A
Venezuela

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