Introducing the GASP Scale: A New Measure of Guilt and Shame Proneness

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 947-966, 2011, DOI: 10.1037/a0022641

72 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2014

See all articles by Taya R. Cohen

Taya R. Cohen

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

Scott Wolf

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

A. T. Panter

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Chester Insko

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

Although scholars agree that moral emotions are critical for deterring unethical and antisocial behavior, there is disagreement about how two prototypical moral emotions — guilt and shame — should be defined, differentiated, and measured. We addressed these issues by developing a new assessment — the Guilt And Shame Proneness scale (GASP) — that measures individual differences in the propensity to experience guilt and shame across a range of personal transgressions. The GASP contains two guilt subscales that assess negative behavior-evaluations (NBEs) and repair action tendencies following private transgressions and two shame subscales that assess negative self-evaluations (NSEs) and withdrawal action tendencies following publically-exposed transgressions. Both guilt subscales were highly correlated with one another and negatively correlated with unethical decision making. Although both shame subscales were associated with relatively poor psychological functioning (e.g., neuroticism, personal distress, low self-esteem), they were only weakly correlated with one another and their relationships with unethical decision making diverged. Whereas shame-NSE constrained unethical decision making, shame-withdraw did not. Our findings suggest that differentiating the tendency to make negative self-evaluations following publically-exposed transgressions from the tendency to hide or withdraw from public is critically important for understanding and measuring dispositional shame proneness. The GASP’s ability to distinguish these two classes of responses represents an important advantage of the scale over existing assessments. Although further validation research is required, the present studies are promising in that they suggest the GASP has the potential to be an important measurement tool for detecting individuals susceptible to corruption and unethical behavior.

Keywords: guilt, shame, moral emotions, scale development, unethical decision making, delinquency

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Taya R. and Wolf, Scott and Panter, A. T. and Insko, Chester, Introducing the GASP Scale: A New Measure of Guilt and Shame Proneness (2011). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 947-966, 2011, DOI: 10.1037/a0022641 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2465386

Taya R. Cohen (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
4122686677 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.tepper.cmu.edu/our-faculty-and-research/about-our-faculty/faculty-profiles/tcohen/cohen-t

Scott Wolf

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

A. T. Panter

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

Chester Insko

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
204
Abstract Views
2,774
Rank
280,610
PlumX Metrics